14 September 2011

Migration to New Zealand falls for fifth month running

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New figures released from the government in New Zealand show migration to the country continuing to slow down for the fifth month since a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch in February.

New Zealand skilled migration

New Zealand's immigration flow has fallen for the fifth consecutive month.

Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) confirmed the continuing outflow of residents, the longest since 2001, revealing that permanent migration departures exceeded New Zealand visa arrivals to the country by 220 in July.

There has been a 59% rise in Christchurch residents departing permanently to live overseas. In the March-July period. Many residents who depart the country head to Australia, attracted by higher average wages; Statistics New Zealand record a 48% increase of residents departing to live in Australia in the year ending July 31st, adding that net migration to Australia was the highest for any July month since 1978.

SNZ said the earthquake in February along with disruptions to flights due to the ash from a Chilean volcano in June have contributed to the falls.

Short term visitors, such as New Zealand tourist visa holders, fell by 3.7% in July, and by 0.5% over the year.  Even so, the country is braced for an influx of approximately 95,000 visitors attending the Rugby world cup. Recent research undertaken by Sainsbury’s Finance showed that the average visitor to New Zealand for the sports event will spend approximately £1,176 a week, excluding flights and tickets to matches. Meanwhile research commissioned by Mastercard estimated the World Cup could generate NZ$782.4 million for the local economy.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler has said that analysis of Australian arrivals to New Zealand in July revealed an improve picture as the month progressed. “A weekly breakdown of Australian arrivals through July shows a much improved second half of the month where numbers were only marginally down on last year” he said.

Bowler also added that Singapore and Malaysia have both delivered double-digit growth thanks partly to new direct flights that began operating in March and April this year. Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) chief economist Tony Alexander predicted a brighter future for migration figures from the country, saying he expects to see a lift in population growth from early 2012, as housing markets weaken in Australia but strengthen in New Zealand.


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with New Zealand immigration applications.

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