New Zealand doesn’t tolerate illegal immigration, and neither does Australia.

As of 2014 slightly more than 12,000 people were living in New Zealand illegally, termed ‘overstayers’ in a typical Kiwi turn of phrase since most are people who have overstayed their visas. With a population of 4.471 million, that works out to 0.27% of the population being here illegally.

In nearby Australia, the current estimate is that 62,100 people are living there illegally. Australia uses the term ‘unaccounted for’. One presumes this number includes both living in Australia illegally and perhaps lost in the Outback. In any case, with a population of 23.13 million, this number works out to 0.27% of the population being in Australia illegally.

In the United States, conservative estimates are that there are 11 million people living there illegally; many say a more realistic number is close to 30 million. With a population of 318.9 million, that works out to from 3.5% to 9.4% of the population being there illegally.

Why the big difference in illegal immigration? You might say that New Zealand and Australia are smaller countries. They’re essentially islands. Their populations are smaller. They aren’t that big. Why would anyone want to go there?

You’d be right on many of those counts although both New Zealand and Australia have had problems with illegal immigration in the past. And as a matter of record, Australia is a big country, the same size as the continental United States.

The difference is that illegal immigration isn’t tolerated here. It is against the law and the law is enforced. Both Kiwis and Aussies strongly believe in things being fair. People follow the rules. Legal immigration is allowed under clear and consistent rules (just as it is in the United States). You don’t jump in line (“queue jumping”) and people who attempt to break the rules, don’t wait their turn and follow proper procedure, are not given preferential treatment—in fact, they are not wanted here.

The foundations of legal, controlled immigration remain intact and are enforced. Also, it is recognized by both countries, New Zealand and Australia, that many people attempt to come here in great part solely in order to receive government benefits. People here don’t think that is fair or right. They don’t want it.

Moreover, the populace here is aware that people allowed to enter and stay in a country illegally often use a disproportionate amount of welfare dollars when compared to legal citizens. Again, it is not fair or right. New Zealand and Australia recognize that there is a distinct economic cost to the taxpayers in supporting illegal immigration. Australia and New Zealand do and must keep close tabs on their budgets. Money spent on illegal immigrants is money that can’t be spent for the actual citizens of a country.

Finally, both New Zealand and Australia believe in their sovereignty. Their allegiance is first and foremost to the citizens of their respective countries, not to strangers attempting to stay there illegally. People who come to a country illegally, who sneak into a country or somehow game the system, aren’t the type people New Zealand or Australia wants.

Illegals don’t share the same values as the citizens including respect for the law. People who overstayed their visas or come to a country illegally, by definition, lied and are not willing to follow a country’s laws. New Zealand and Australia don’t want them.

Australia in particular doesn’t pretend that it is the place for everyone. Australia has a book that visa holders and potential citizens must read, understand and sign (http://www.border.gov.au/LifeinAustralia/Documents/lia_english_full.pdf).

It essentially says, “This is Australia. This is what we are about. This is who we are. If you aren’t willing to be this way, if you aren’t willing to follow our rules, don’t come here. You aren’t welcome.”

But wait! How about so-called ‘sanctuary cities’? Are there some special cities in New Zealand—perhaps Gisborne, Whangarei and Invercargill—where the laws don’t apply and you can live there safely as an illegal alien? How about Australia—don’t worry about being there illegally if you live in Perth, Sydney or Humpty Doo?

Think again. No way.

Why would illegality not be prosecuted in certain cities? Why would illegality be allowed not to be prosecuted in certain cities? The laws of New Zealand and of Australia apply to all its cities and towns—all of them, all the time.

What if you are visiting New Zealand, legally or illegally, and you give birth to a child? Or if you are pregnant and somehow fly here—rush, rush, rush, timing is everything—and deliver right there in the Auckland Airport as you get off the plane? That child would be a New Zealand citizen, right?

No. Of course not. One or both parents need to be New Zealand citizens for a child to be a citizen. Why such an archaic view? In its backwardness, New Zealand attempts “to ensure that citizenship and its benefits are limited to people who have a genuine and ongoing link to New Zealand.”

How about Australia? Same thing—for a baby to become an Australian citizen, at least one parent has to be an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent visa holder.

If you’re here in New Zealand illegally, can you expect to stay?

Sorry, no. With regards to overstaying visas, the consensus seems to be that if you were responsible enough to arrive on time to catch a plane to come here, then there is no excuse for not being responsible enough to leave when your time is up.

Despite this, a fair number of people overstay their visas because of family or economic reasons. To discourage this, if you are deported, you will not be allowed to reenter New Zealand forever or for a number of years. In addition, a deportee cannot return to New Zealand until he or she has repaid the costs of their deportation. Also, people here illegally who have engaged in criminal activity are given the highest priority for removal.

How about businesses? It seems that it should be only fair for businesses to make hefty profits by hiring illegals under the guise that the illegals are doing jobs that the citizens wouldn’t do themselves—a myth that is promulgated in the United States.

Immigration New Zealand apparently doesn’t think so and carries out random work-site inspections. There is a potential fine of $10,000 if you are found to have an employee working unlawfully—even if you thought they had a proper visa.

The people themselves here don’t like and don’t accept people being here illegally. Here in New Zealand, if you think someone is here illegally, you can fill out an on-line form or call 0800 555 111.

Similarly, in Australia there is a dob-in line you can call to report people suspected of being in Australia illegally or overstaying their visas. For those who aren’t familiar—I had to look it up—dob-in is a New Zealand/Australian phrase meaning to inform against or report.

Overstaying your visa or living in Australia illegally can result in being detained, deported and banned for a number of years or permanently from returning to Australia.

“Illegal workers undermine the integrity of Australia’s migration program, reduce work opportunities for Australians and expose vulnerable workers to exploitation.”        —Chris Bowen, Australia Immigration Minister

In recent years, Australia has had a problem with refugees attempting to settle in Australia. It is important to make the distinction between immigrants, legal or otherwise, and asylum seekers or refugees. Immigrants make a conscious decision to leave their country, often based on economic concerns, and attempt to seek residence in a foreign country. In contrast, asylum seekers are forced to leave their country because of the risk they face in staying. Once they have left their country of origin, asylum seekers are technically called refugees.

But as can be imagined, there can be some difficulty in determining who is a true refugee and who is simply fleeing a bad political or economic situation—all too common in today’s world—and seeking a home elsewhere.

Most countries have quotas based on international law for the number of true asylum seekers or refugees they are willing or contracted to take each year.

Currently, by law, New Zealand takes in around 1000 asylum seekers/year. Australia takes in almost 14,000.

In recent years over 50,000 illegal immigrants/asylum seekers, often termed boat people, have landed on Australia’s coastline attempting to make Australia their home. These people primarily come from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Iran and Myanmar often being encouraged to make the trip by people smugglers to whom they pay exorbitant fees. The alleged asylum seekers travel overland usually to Indonesia and then head for Australia in boats, which are usually dangerously overcrowded. Over 1000 people have drowned in recent years attempting this crossing.

Boat people—Australia wants to discourage people from perilous attempts to reach its shores.

Boat people—Australia wants to discourage people from perilous attempts to reach its shores.

People seeking asylum are expected to file certain forms and legally seek asylum in a country, and not just to show up as these people were. Australians generally perceived this onslaught of boat people, despite humanitarian concerns, as grossly unfair to the thousands of people who were legally attempting to seek asylum in Australia. Also, the Australian people themselves did not want to accept an endless and ever-increasing number of refugees.

In addition, many of these people landing on Australia’s shores weren’t true asylum seekers, but rather simply wanted the benefits of Australia’s generous welfare state. At least for a time, some of those who had arrived were treated with a certain amount of deference and given free material assistance along with government benefits. It was detected that this only encouraged others to make the trip and attempt to settle in Australia as refugees.

Refugee camp in New Guinea

Refugee camp in New Guinea

Over the last years a number of solutions have been tried. Australia has felt that these people’s cases for asylum have to be individually evaluated preferably on an offshore location. Detention camps were set up primarily in Papua, New Guinea for this purpose. Although some claim that it was inhumane to detain alleged asylum seekers and that the conditions in the camps were inadequate, Australia felt it was in its own interest not to allow the people on Australian soil until their cases had been heard, and not to encourage the chaotic ingress, particularly by sea, of unknown individuals. Australia has also reached a deal that at least some of the refugees whose claims turned out to be bona-fide would be resettled in New Guinea and not in Australia.

The problem of the boat people refugees continued, and it became a key issue in the 2013 Australian elections, with Australians expressing their concern over the tragedy of the boat peoples lives being lost at sea, the unfairness of people skipping line to be allowed into the country, and the overall cost to the taxpayer of handling this problem. One of the core platforms of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s victory in the 2013 elections was to “stop the boats.” And he did.

In the past seven months not a single illegal immigrant has arrived by boat on Australia’s shore. How was this done?

First, it was made abundantly clear that if you came to Australia in this way, you wouldn’t be allowed to stay.

Second, Australia’s military was used to patrol coastal waters, intercept illegal boatloads and tow or ‘escort’ the boats back to Indonesia or in some way return the people to their country of origin. A deal has been made for Cambodia to at least take some of the boat people.

Any people who are for some reason allowed to stay in Australia are given only temporary protection visas but not allowed to apply for permanent protection or citizenship.

A country has the right to its own sovereignty and its allegiance should be first and foremost to its own people. What is safest and best for New Zealand and Australian citizens, people who actually live in these countries and pay the taxes and whose interests are or should be represented by their governmental representatives? What is in the best interest of the people of the United States?

Here is a video on Australia’s stand on attempting to come to Australia illegally.


4 thoughts on “Overstayers

  1. Well written and point more than well taken. I forwarded this to my husband and others that need to take note. Most of us know why this is such a difficult situation for the U.S. So, if you guys still lived here, who would you be supporting? Ha ha! Really looking forward to this answer.

  2. Being the clownish, uneducated, xenophobic, misogynistic, low-information voters that we are . . . . . . On a related issue, Tony Abbott is no longer PM of Australia! Actually, movin2newzealand will be in Australia next week to check out the situation first-hand, and . . . well, for one of its members to take the GED.

  3. Aussies and Kiwis are brilliant in their handling of illegal immigration…..And it’s so SIMPLE….you’d think those morons in Washington could figure it out ! …JUST SAY NO ,!!!!!

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