THE New Zealand Government deported 28 Fijians between July 2008 and November 2013 immediately following the imposition of a prison sentence.
Another 17 who previously held student visas were also deported between March 2012 and February 2013.
Immigration New Zealand confirmed that those deported had been in the country seeking employment.
"The majority of those unlawfully in New Zealand are not criminals," Immigration NZ said in response to questions from this newspaper.
"They choose to remain here for a number of reasons such as employment and family.
"In these cases, Immigration New Zealand focuses more attention on engaging with the individual and actively case-managing them towards what is termed a voluntary departure."
Immigration New Zealand is also working with former Fijian residents who are permanently residing in New Zealand to help identify those living illegally.
"The emphasis on case management gives the individual the opportunity to co-operate with Immigration New Zealand, settle their affairs here and pay for their own costs in returning to their home country."