New Zealand Experiencing Peak Migration Levels

by Ray Clancy on March 30, 2015

More people are moving to New Zealand to live and work with official figures showing that annual net migration in the 12 months to the end of February reached a new record.

Some 55,121 in the year ending in February arrived in the country compared with 53,797 in the year ending in January and although there was a small fall in long term arrivals in February month on month, overall migration is reaching peak levels.

newzealandMAPThe figures from Statistics New Zealand figures showed migration averaged a net gain of 4,900 in the past six months, breaking the previous net gain record of 4,700 in February 2003.

The net gain in February 2015 was higher than the gain in February 2014 of 3700 because of more arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens as well as fewer departures of New Zealand citizens.

The seasonally adjusted net loss of migrants to Australia in February this year was 300, compared with a net loss of 600 in February last year. The highest ever net loss to Australia was 4,300 in February 2001, just before an Australian immigration policy change restricted access to welfare benefits for New Zealand citizens arriving after that date.

According to government statistician Liz MacPherson, the increase in migrant arrivals in the year ending in February compared with the previous corresponding period was led by India with an increase of 5,900.

The number of Australians arriving increased by 2,900, Chinese arrivals were up by 1,300, those from the Philippines increased by 1,200 and French arrival increased by 1,100. The increase in arrivals from Australia included 2,200 more New Zealand citizens and 700 more non-New Zealand citizens.

The fall in migrant departures was mainly due to fewer departures of New Zealanders to Australia, down 9,000. Departures of New Zealanders to Australia had more than halved in the past two years from 47,400 in the year ended February 2013 to 22,800 in the year ended last month, MacPherson pointed out.

She also explained that the net loss of 2,600 people to Australia in the February 2015 year was well down from the net losses of 15,000 in the February 2014 year and 36,700 in the February 2013 year.

ëThe latest figure is the smallest net loss to Australia since the March 1992 year when it was 2,300,í added MacPherson.

Experts believe that the current level of arrivals is set to continue for some time. According to Westpac senior economist Felix Delbruck it is likely to approach a peak of 60,000 towards the end of the year and remain high into 2016.

Net migration had been supported by the combination of job opportunities created by the Canterbury rebuild following earthquakes and a perceived lack of opportunities in Australia.

Delbruck said he expected to see a turnaround in immigration from late 2016, possibly quite sharply as the Canterbury rebuild winds down and Australian economic conditions improve.

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