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NZ annual net migration slows in January as student visas dip

Wednesday 28th February 2018

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New Zealand annual net migration continued to moderate in January, while staying near record highs, with student and resident visa numbers dropping while work visa numbers continued to climb.

Annual net migration was at 70,100 in the year to January, from 71,300 in Jan. 2017, Statistics New Zealand said. The figures show that in the latest year net migration from Australia was balanced, with 24,900 migrants arriving from across the ditch and nearly as many leaving, with a net gain of just 40 migrants from Australia in the year. 

"That means net migration’s contribution to New Zealand’s population growth in the January 2018 year mainly reflected a gain of 70,100 people from other countries around the world," Stats NZ said. 

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 2017 year, and the latest figures continue the recent trend of reducing annual net migration levels, the government agency said. 

Chinese migration continued to be the largest on a net basis, with 9,300 of the 70,100 net arrivals coming from China, though that was down 9 percent on a year earlier. India was the second-largest source at a net 6,700, though Indian net migration was down 22 percent from a year earlier, with a 10 percent drop in annual student visas granted to Indian citizens to 5,800.

China continued to be the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, though that dipped 10.4 percent to 3,050 in the year, while the total number of residence visas dropped 7.9 percent to 15,400.

There was a 9.5 percent increase in work visas granted in the year, to 46,500, while student visa numbers dropped 0.6 percent to 24,100.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.7 million in the January year, up 5.5 percent from a year earlier. The number of people coming to New Zealand on holiday rose 6.1 percent on an annual basis to 1.95 million.


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