New Zealand: Annual migration at record high

New Zealand: Annual migration at record high

New Zealand: Annual migration at record high

Annual migration in New Zealand has spiraled to a new high of just under 50,000, well above the number hit during the peak migration period 10 years ago.

More New Zealanders are returning from Australia in search of work at home, while a higher number of international students are looking to stay in the country on a more long term basis. Meanwhile, fewer Kiwis are emigrating to Australia, with the figures recorded the lowest since 1994.

Figures from Statistics NZ show that from November 2013 to November 2014, New Zealand saw migration hit 49,800 – the country’s highest-ever net gain. And economists believe the number could have reached 60,000 before the end of next year.

The biggest increase in terms of new arrivals was India, with 4,500 individuals arriving from the sub-continent. Australia followed on 4,100, although most of that figure was made up by returning Kiwis.

The majority of those coming from India were students on student visas, with India providing the most students to New Zealand since 2008. China was previously the country that provided the biggest numbers in terms of long-stay students. The number of students travelling to New Zealand has gone up by over 1,000 each month since the government relaxed rules on migrants on student visas working.

Meanwhile, Westpac economists believe there is no reason for the situation to change any time soon given that the Australian economy is so weak at present, while the New Zealand economy could keep expanding without needing to raise interest rates. They said they expect people to keep “voting with their feet” next year and the annual net migration to hit around 60,000 in the second six months of 2015.

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