Annual migration hits new record
Posted on December 28, 2014
Annual migration has hit a new record high of almost 50,000, well above the previous peak during the migration boom a decade ago.
And economists say it could hit 60,000 late next year.
More students are coming here long term, especially from India and more New Zealanders are coming back from Australia.
At the same time, fewer New Zealanders are leaving for Australia, with the smallest yearly net loss across the Tasman since 1994.
In the November 2014 year, New Zealand recorded its highest-ever net gain of 49,800 migrants, Statistics NZ figures show.
The biggest lift in the past year was arrivals from India, up 4500, closely followed by Australia, up 4100, with most of those returning New Zealanders.
Almost all of the increase in arrivals from India were travelling on student visas, and that country has been the biggest source of student visa arrivals since 2008. Before that, China was the key source of students coming here for longer stays.
The number of student arrivals has increased by more than 1,000 a month since work restrictions for migrants on student visas were relaxed late last year, Westpac economists said. The trend in migration was expected to stay strong for some time, with the Australian economy looking softer and plenty of room for the New Zealand economy to keep growing without interest rates rising, Westpac said.
“There is every reason to expect people to keep voting in favour of New Zealand with their feet well into next year. We now expect annual net migration to peak at 60,000 in the second half of 2015,” Westpac said.
The strong migration would add more workers and keep a lid on wage inflation, but would also add fuel to the fire of the housing market which was already showing signs of warming up, Westpac said.
Most of the migrants landed in Auckland which saw a net gain of 22,500 in the past November year, followed by Canterbury with 6000 extra people from overseas.
In the month of November there was a net gain of 5000 nationally- more people arriving than leaving. That was slightly down on the record monthly gain of 5200 in October.
The previous record was seen in the last big migration boom in 2003.
In the year to November, total migrant arrivals hit a new high of 108,800, up almost 15,000 people on the previous November year.
The annual increase was led by more student arrivals, particularly from India, and more New Zealand citizens arriving from Australia, where the economy has cooled and the job market has become tougher.
The Australian unemployment rate rose to 6.3 per cent last month, while New Zealand’s unemployment rate is 5.4 per cent and has been falling.
And the numbers of people leaving New Zealand have plunged as job prospects dimmed across the Tasman.
There were 59,000 migrant departures in the November year, down almost 14,000 on the previous November year.
The fall in migrants leaving New Zealand was because of fewer departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia (down 12,700), compared with the November 2013 year.
The net loss of 4,500 people to Australia in the November 2014 year was the smallest since the July 1994 year (4,200).
In 2012 there was a big exodus to Australia in the wake of the Canterbury earthquake, with a net loss of almost 39,000.