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Annual migration lifts in October despite more Kiwis, Aussies leaving

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

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New Zealand annual net migration rose in October and remains high by historical standards although it's lower than the record reached in July this year.

Annual net migration rose to 70,700 in the year to October, from 70,300 in the same period a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. The figures show 72,100 non-citizens arrived in the year, while 1,400 New Zealanders left. 

New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years, which made rising immigration a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and is blamed for inflating property markets. Net migration peaked at 72,400 in the July year.

"Non-New Zealand citizen migrant arrivals continued to drive the high net migration levels,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. "The fall in annual net migration from the peak in the July 2017 year was mainly caused by an increase in non-New Zealand citizen migrant departures."

The number of net migrants from Australia moved back into negative figures in the year, with 22 more Australians leaving than arriving, compared to 1,900 net arrivals a year earlier. Australia is the only country monitored which had negative net migration to New Zealand in the latest year.

Chinese migration continued to be the largest on a net basis, with 9,600 of the 72,100 net arrivals coming from China, though that was down 6.5 percent on a year earlier. India was the second-largest source at 6,900 net, though Indian net migration was down 27 percent from a year earlier, with a 19 percent drop in annual student visas granted to Indian citizens.

Migration from the UK and South Africa had the biggest increases on a net basis, with UK immigration up 26 percent to 6,600, and South African immigration up 31 percent to 5,000. 

China continued to be the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, though that dipped 4.4 percent to 3,200 in the year to the end of October, while the total number of residence visas dropped 2.4 percent to 15,900.

There was a 13 percent increase in work visas granted in the year, to 46,000, while student visa numbers dropped 4 percent to 24,000 and NZ and Australian citizen arrivals rose 3.4 percent to 38,000.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.7 million in the October year, up 8 percent from a year earlier and a new annual record, Stats NZ said. The number of people coming to New Zealand on holiday rose 8.6 percent on an annual basis to 1.9 million people.

New Zealand residents took 2.8 million overseas trips in the year, up 11 percent from the previous year, with the biggest increases from people going to French Polynesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

The most popular destination was still Australia, with 1.2 million New Zealand residents travelling there in the year, up 4.9 percent annually.

Statistics NZ included a new measure for this release of data, the 12/16 month rule, which defines migrants by how long they actually stay in New Zealand rather than how long they say they plan to stay. The most recently available period for the rule was the year to June 2016, and that showed net migration in that year was 65,100, compared to 69,100 as found by the standard migration measure, Stats NZ said.


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