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NZ annual net migration shows no sign of cooling

Wednesday 26th April 2017

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New Zealand annual net migration hit a fresh record in the year to March as migrants continue to flock to the country. 



Annual net migration rose to a record 71,932 in the 12 months ended March 31 versus 67,619 in the same period a year earlier and above the prior record of  71,300 migrants in the February 2017 year, Statistics New Zealand said. 



People arriving as permanent and long-term migrants outnumbered those departing by 129,518 to 57,586 in the latest 12 months. Of those arriving, 57,710 were bound for Auckland while 10,080 were headed to the capital city of Wellington. In the South Island, 12,719 were bound for Canterbury. In terms of departures, 21,938 left Auckland while 5,890 left Canterbury.



China continued to make up the biggest source of permanent and long-term arrivals on residence visas, rising 20 percent to 3,435 in the year to March, while total residence visas lifted 14 percent to 16,763.  Work-visa migrants from the UK rose 14 percent to 7,341 while those from France were up 14 percent to 3,956. 



New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years as economic growth outpaced Australia's, meaning fewer locals moved across the Tasman. Rising immigration is shaping up to be a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and has been blamed for inflaming property markets. 



Last week the government announced it is committed to a "Kiwis first" immigration policy, making it harder for firms to hire overseas with new restrictions on temporary work visas for anyone earning less than the median wage, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said. 



Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.543 million in the year ended March, up 8.9 percent from a year earlier, Stats New Zealand said. That number also equaled the previous annual record set in February.  However, the 343,800 visitors arriving in March 2017 were down 600 on March 2016.



"The majority of the visitor arrivals in March 2017 were from Australia (36 percent) followed by China (12 percent) and the United States of America (11 percent)", population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.  



New Zealand residents took a record 2.68 million overseas trips in the March 2017 year, up 10 percent from the March 2016 year. In March 2017, New Zealand residents left on 192,200 overseas trips, up 11 percent from March 2016.





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