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Next stop Auckland as record immigration continues

China made up the biggest source of permanent and long-term arrivals on residence visas.

Jonathan Underhill
Mon, 27 Feb 2017

New Zealand continued to be a magnet for migrants in January, breaking 2016's records as the nation welcomed more people from the UK, South Africa and China.

The number of short-term visitors also rose.

Annual net migration rose to 71,305 in the 12 months ended January, eclipsing the record 70,600 set in 2016, Statistics New Zealand says.

People arriving as permanent and long-term migrants outnumbered those departing by 128,290 to 56,985.

Of those arriving, 56,231, or 44% of the total were bound for Auckland, more than four times the number headed for the second-most popular destination of Canterbury with 12,785.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and travelling for work, reached 3.54 million, up 11% from a year earlier.

Visitors from Australia rose 6.3% to 1.4 million while those from China increases 14% to 422,256, American visitors jumped almost 20% to 296,640 and British gained 6.5% to 221,136. Japanese visitors rose 14% to 101,008, and a strong gain was also recorded from Germans who rose 15% to 99,472.

The figures show the growth in the outflow of people from New Zealand is stalling on some measures.

Permanent and long-term departures of about 57,000 were virtually unchanged from a year earlier. Kiwi residents heading off on an overseas trip rose 9% to 2.64 million.

The Reserve Bank, which has been confounded by persistently high migration and its impact on Auckland and its property prices in particular, expects the inflow to abate as growth reignites in other economies.

It is expected to start hiking interest rates as soon as this year in the face of resurgent inflation and sturdy economic growth.

"Record levels of net migration are continuing to underpin strong growth in New Zealand's population, reinforcing the outlook for demand over 2017," Westpac Banking Corp senior economist Satish Ranchhod says.

There are some negative trends. While India continues to be the top source of arrivals on student visas, the total number declined 39% to 6457 in the year, which may a reflect a crackdown on bogus or low-wattage courses and fraudulent recruitment agents for educational institutes.

Eight Indian students facing deportation for immigration fraud have agreed to leave New Zealand by today but they are also asking the Ombudsman to review their cases, the NZ Herald has reported.

Students from China rose 2.1% to 5612. Total permanent and long-term arrivals on student visas dropped 13% to 24,297.

China made up the biggest source of permanent and long-term arrivals on residence visas, rising 29% to 3403, while the total residence visas rose 18% to 16,722.

People from the UK made up the biggest group arriving on work visas, up 11% to 7075, while the total on that class of visa gained 11% to 42,415.

Those whose visa type classed them as New Zealand and Australian citizens rose 4.6% to 37,890.



Jonathan Underhill
Mon, 27 Feb 2017
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Next stop Auckland as record immigration continues