10 January 2007

More Brits going Kiwi

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More than 11,000 British citizens are emigrating to New Zealand every year, reveal the latest migration figures from New Zealand's Department of Labour.

The figures show that UK nationals still represent the largest individual group emigrating to New Zealand with 29 per cent of all permanent residency approvals in 2005/06, followed by the Chinese (13 per cent).

Overall, 51,236 people were approved for permanent residence in 2005/06, and the majority of these were approved through the Skilled Migrant and Business streams. Of these, 87 per cent had previously held a temporary visitor, student, or work permit.

In the Skilled Migrant Category, the UK was the largest source of skilled migrants, accounting for 41% - up 10% on the previous year. Another 12% came from South Africa, with 11% from China.

A major increase was seen in the number of work permits issued, with 99,674 individuals becoming eligible to work in New Zealand, a 21 percent rise on the previous year. 18,659 UK applicants were granted a work permit in the year.

The increase in work permits came mainly as a result of the expansion of the working holiday schemes, the introduction of Work to Residence policies, and a growing number of work permits issued to partners of New Zealand citizens or residents, or partners of work permit holders.

The New Zealand Government has heralded the latest figures as evidence that its immigration policies are helping to attract skilled workers and alleviate New Zealand skills shortages.

"This is a reflection of New Zealand employers' continued need for overseas staff in an environment of low unemployment and shortages of Kiwi workers," said Immigration Minister David Cunliffe. "It shows the government is responding well with effective immigration measures.

"It also demonstrates the changing nature of migration. People are becoming increasingly mobile in a competitive global environment, where there are more opportunities for people than ever before.

"For example, in 1985 there were an estimated 84 million people living outside their country of origin. This figure is forecast to rise to 230 million by 2050.

"These trends support my announcement earlier this year initiating a substantive immigration change programme. This will ensure our immigration legislation, policies and systems continue to respond to new trends and meet New Zealand's needs in the 21st Century.

"We are now looking ahead to ensure immigration helps move New Zealand into a high income, knowledge-based market economy for the future."

Other highlights of the report showed that:

Anyone who is interested in emigrating to New Zealand should visit the New Zealand Visa Bureau web site and complete the Online Assessment to see if they meet the basic requirements.

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