21 May 2013

New Zealand immigration influx gathers pace

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The rate of people moving to New Zealand combined with falling rates of those leaving for Australia is positioning the country in a great economic position for the future.

New Zealand visa

More people are deciding to stay in or move to New Zealand as the economy and opportunities for work improve.

With Australia's booming mining industry beginning to settle and Christchurch's recovery operation gearing up for a rapid construction company, the numbers of those leaving and arriving have reached New Zealand's best levels for three years.

Just 2,000 people left New Zealand for Australia last month, the lowest level for three years; conversely, 1,600 people arrived on a variety of New Zealand visas, ready to work.

Australia has been the traditional destination for most Kiwis emigrating but the trend is beginning to reverse with over 16,000 making the move back across the Tasman in the past 12 months. The rise in Australians moving to New Zealand was accompanied by rises in British migrants as well as Chinese.

"Departures to Australia have come down significantly, but arrivals of foreign migrants also appear to have picked up," said Felix Delbruck, a senior economist at Westpac.

Mr Delbruck said New Zealand immigration records now showed net inflows in seven of the last eight months, clearly indicating the immigration trend had turned positive.

"We expect net immigration to increase further over the next couple of years as employment conditions in Australia continue to soften and labour shortages associated with the Canterbury rebuild become more acute."

Mr Delbruck's comments were echoed by ASB's Daniel Smith, who said the continuing struggles of European economies meant the burgeoning economy in New Zealand appeared an ever more attractive prospect for migrants.

"With [Europe's] poor economic performance set to continue for some time, a stable and growing economy like NZ's will remain an attractive option for Europeans with the right skill set."

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

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