25 April 2006

Immigration boost for New Zealand economy

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New Zealand saw the largest monthly net increase in long term and permanent migrants for over two years during March, according to the latest official data.

Statistics New Zealand reported the country gained a net 1830 migrants in March, seasonally adjusted. That is nearly three times the average monthly gain over the previous 12 months and the largest net inflow since February 2004.

For the year ended March, the net gain was 9700, in line with the long-term average.

The findings are good news for the New Zealand economy, with the housing market expected to benefit the most from the upturn in new arrivals.

Net annual migration gains helped drive a strong domestic economy during the first few years of the 21st century, but the number of new immigrants has fallen since a peak of 42,500 in May 2003 because of tighter immigration rules, and subsequently the economy began to slow down.

A reduction in the number of foreign students studying in New Zealand, fewer New Zealanders returning home and more moving overseas also contributed to a net loss in population growth.

Although the recent upturn in arrivals is not expected to be matched next month, New Zealanders are now leaving the country in fewer numbers.

Skilled migrants are attracted to New Zealand by a number of social and economic factors with unemployment static at around 3.6% - one of the lowest rates in the western world.

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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