Record numbers pour into New Zealand to work, study and holiday

by Ray Clancy on August 23, 2017

The number of people moving to New Zealand have reached another record high with the nation proving particularly popular with people from China and a rise in migration from the UK.

Overall annual net migration reached a record 72,400 in the 12 months to July 2017, according to the official data from Statistics New Zealand.

(Ralf Broskvar/

Migrant arrivals reached 132,100, a new annual record, and migrant departures numbered 59,700 and compared with the year to the end of July 2016, net migration increased by 3,400.

Most are arriving to work and study, with the largest number of visas granted for short term work and to undertake a course at universities. But there have been fewer people arriving from India with a fall of 3,900 to 7,400, mainly due to a decline in students with a fall of 32%.

Chinese people continued to be the largest group arriving to work and stay on a net basis, with 9,961 of the 72,400 net arrivals from the country and was the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, up 12.2% to 3,413 in the 12 month period.

Migration from the UK recorded the biggest increases on a net basis, up 53% to 6,750, with net South African migration also up 50% to 4,862 while the number of net migrants from Australia dropped to 469, from 1,750 a year earlier.

There was a 15.3% increase in work visas granted to 45,397, while overall student visas dropped 9.9% to 24,132.

More people are also visiting New Zealand with a record 1.9 million arriving on holiday, boosted by visitors from Australia, the United States. This is almost double the number in the July 2002 year, when the number of holidaymakers reached a million for the first time.

Visitor arrivals numbered 3.7 million in the July 2017 year, a new annual record. The 9% increase from the July 2016 year was mostly due to 189,100 or 11% rise in holiday makers in the last 12 months.

‘The number of holiday maker arrivals in New Zealand has been steadily increasing since 2011. More holiday makers from Australia, United States, and the UK boosted visitor arrival numbers in the last 12 months. This included a spike in arrivals from the UK in June for the British and Irish Lions rugby tour,’ said population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan.

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