Migrants continued to flock to New Zealand in record numbers in the year to February, although the net inflow is showing signs of levelling off.
According to Statistics New Zealand, annual net migration rose to a record 71,333 in the 12 months to the end of February, up from 67,391 in the same period a year earlier. The number, however, was on a par with the previous annual record set in January. People arriving as permanent and long-term migrants outnumbered those departing by 128,816 to 57,483 in the latest 12 months.
Of those arriving, 57,156 were bound for Auckland while 9,970 were headed to the capital city of Wellington. In the South Island, 12,720 were bound for Canterbury. In terms of departures, 21,843 left Auckland while 5,884 left Canterbury.
“About a third of all migrant arrivals for the year were people coming to New Zealand on work visas,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. “Just over a quarter of all work-visa migrants were from the United Kingdom and France.”
Westpac Bank acting chief economist Michael Gordon doesn’t expect the numbers to dip any time soon. “We expect net migration inflows to remain strong for some time, with NZ’s positive economic story, including its labour market, making us an attractive destination,” he said.
The Reserve Bank, however, which has been confounded by persistently high migration and its impact on the city of Auckland and its property prices in particular, expects the net inflow to abate as growth reignites in other economies.
China continued to make up the biggest source of permanent and long-term arrivals on residence visas, rising 26 percent to 3,508, while the total residence visas rose 17 percent to 16,833. Work-visa migrants from the UK rose 12.2 percent to 7,210 while those from France rose 15.1 percent to 3,441.
Article published 21st March 2017