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Annual migration unchanged in November, slowing continues, Stats NZ says

Wednesday 20th December 2017

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New Zealand annual net migration was unchanged in November from a year earlier, as fewer New Zealanders left while net foreign migration decreased.

Annual net migration was at 70,400 in the year to November, the same as November 2016, Statistics New Zealand said. The figures show a net 71,700 non-citizens arrived in the year, down from 72,300 a year earlier, while a net 1,300 New Zealanders left, from 1,900 a year earlier.

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, and the latest figures continue the recent trend of reducing annual net migration levels, Stats NZ said.

"The slowing of annual net migration was driven by record non-New Zealand citizen migrant departures," population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. "There were 27,800 in the November 2017 year, compared with 22,900 in the November 2016 year." More non-citizen migrants arrived in the latest year, at 99,500 from 95,100 a year earlier.

Chinese migration continued to be the largest on a net basis, with 9,500 of the 70,400 net arrivals coming from China, though that was down 7.9 percent on a year earlier. India was the second-largest source at a net 6,800, though Indian net migration was down 25 percent from a year earlier, with a 17 percent drop in annual student visas granted to Indian citizens.

Net arrivals from Australia plummeted to 20 people in the latest year, from 1,800 a year earlier. US net migration jumped 50 percent to 2,000 in the year, while UK net migration rose 20 percent to 6,500.

China continued to be the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, though that dipped 7 percent to 3,100 in the year, while the total number of residence visas dropped 4.7 percent to 15,700.

There was a 12 percent increase in work visas granted in the year, to 46,200, while student visa numbers dropped 2.5 percent to 24,000.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.7 million in the November 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 10 percent from the previous year, with the biggest increases from people going to French Polynesia, Japan, and Spain. There was also a large jump in New Zealand-resident travellers not stating where they were going, up 63 percent in the latest year to 125,000 people.

The most popular destination was still Australia, with 1.2 million New Zealand residents travelling there in the year, up 4.8 percent annually.


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