14 July 2005

Brits immigrating to New Zealand in record numbers: Government

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The proportion of British emigrating to New Zealand continues to rise; now account for almost a third of new residents according to New Zealand Immigration Minister Paul Swain.

Of all approvals for permanent residence in the last financial year, 30.8 per cent - 15,045 people - came from Britain.

That is up from 20.9 per cent of all immigrants the previous year, when 8,165 people were granted residency from Britain.

In the 1997/98 year, the British accounted for 16.4 per cent of immigrants, comprising 4,896 people.

Although proportionately fewer people came from Britain, it was then the largest country of origin for immigrants and remained so until the 2001/02 year when China and India took the lead.

That trend reversed last year.

Statistics show that despite a plunge in residency applications in 2004, the Government's financial year's target has largely been met.

This followed changes to the points system late last year after it became clear that the late 2003 selection tightening had dissuaded too many potential immigrants from applying.

The initial changes had affected last year's immigration. Numbers slumped to 39,100, well below the 45,000 target.

Mr Swain then proposed to recover the shortfall by increasing the target to 50,000.

The figures out yesterday show 48,815 people were granted residency in the year ending last month.

Of these, 29,826 were approved under the business and skilled migrant categories.

That too meets targets and is a significant improvement on the previous year when the points problems resulted in just 517 approvals in the skilled migrant category.

However, of the 15,045 immigrants to New Zealand from Britain this year, 12,552 were in the skilled/business stream.


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