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Immigration rises to a fresh record, fuelled by returning kiwis, Indian students

Friday 19th December 2014

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New Zealand's annual migration rose to a record for the fourth consecutive month in November, led by fewer kiwis crossing the Tasman, more returning from Australia, and a sharply rising number of student arrivals from India. 

The country gained a net 49,836 migrants in the year ended Nov. 30, the biggest ever annual gain, according to Statistics New Zealand. Annual arrivals climbed 17 percent from the previous year to a new high of 108,838, while departures fell 20 percent to 59,002. The annual loss to Australia was 4,500 people, the smallest loss across the Tasman since July 1994, and well down from losses 22,100 a year earlier. 

The Reserve Bank expects net migration to peak at 51,000 early next year, while the Treasury, in its half year economic and fiscal update, forecast a peak of 52,400 in the March 2015 year, before returning to the long-run assumption of 12,000 per year in June 2017. The central bank has been surprised by the "muted impact" record inflows have had on house price inflation so far, which it says hasn't led to as big a gain in property prices as in the past. This may be down to the composition of the migration flows, which are characterised by fewer New Zealanders leaving for Australia as well as more returning from across the Tasman, and younger people coming on temporary working visas.

Today's figures show Indian arrivals jumped 69 percent to 11,167 people, to be the second largest source of inflow, with total net migration of 9,967 people in the year, greater than China's 20 percent rise in arrivals of 9,617, with total net migrants of 7,186. Australia remained the biggest source of arrivals, rising 20 percent in the year to 23,001 people, although many are New Zealanders returning from across the Tasman, Statistics NZ said. 

In the month, New Zealand gained a seasonally adjusted 5,000 migrants, just below last month's high of 5,200. Seasonally adjusted there was a net loss of 100 migrants to Australia in November, well below the peak monthly net loss of 4,300 migrants across the Tasman in February 2001. 

The number of short term arrivals rose 8 percent to 270,400 overseas visitors arriving last month, the highest for any November month. On an annual basis, visitor arrivals rose 5 percent to 2.84 million, the highest ever annual number, boosted by more Chinese and Australian tourists, Statistics NZ said.

New Zealanders heading on short overseas trips rose 4 percent to 177,800 overseas trips in the month from a year earlier and were the highest ever for a November month. Annually short term departures rose 3 percent to 2.26 million in the year. 


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