Immigration outpaces Kiwis leaving in August

Chinese migration continued to be the largest on a net basis.

New Zealand annual net migration rose in August, with increasing numbers of foreign immigrants outpacing the number of New Zealanders leaving the country.

Annual net migration reached 72,100 in the year to August, up 3000 on the same period a year earlier, Statistics NZ said. Three-quarters of the record 132,200 migrant arrivals were non-New Zealand citizens, while 1500 more New Zealanders left the country than returned in the latest year. There has been a net migration gain of 73,500 non-New Zealand citizens in the year to August.

New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years, with rising immigration a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and is blamed for inflating property markets.

Chinese migration continued to be the largest on a net basis, with 9900 of the 72,100 net arrivals from China, though that was down 1.7% on a year earlier. India was the second-largest source at 7300 net, though Indian net migration was down 32% from a year earlier, with a 27% drop in annual student visas granted to Indian citizens.

Migration from the UK had the biggest increase on a net basis, up 47% to 6700, with net South African migration up 44% to 4900. The number of net migrants from Australia dropped to 226, from 1800 a year earlier.

China continued to be the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, rising 6.1% to 3300 in the year to the end of August, ahead of the total residence visa gain of 4.9% to 16,500. There was a 16% increase in work visas granted in the year, to 45,800, while student visas dropped 7.7% to 24,000 and NZ and Australian citizen arrivals rose 4.7% to 38,000.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.7 million in the August year, up 9.3% from a year earlier and a new annual record, Statistics NZ said. The number of people coming to New Zealand on holiday rose 11% on an annual basis to 1.9 million people.

New Zealand residents took a record 2.8 million overseas trips in the August 2017 year, up 11% from the August 2016 year, with the biggest increases from people going to Vietnam, Cambodia, and French Polynesia. There was a 13% drop in the number of people going to Vanuatu, and a 4% fall in people going to Tonga, compared to a year earlier. The most popular destination was still Australia, with 1.2 million New Zealand residents travelling there in the year, up 5.8% annually.


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