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NZ migration rises to new annual record in May

Posted on June 23, 2015
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New Zealand annual migration rose to a fresh record in May as fewer locals left for Australia, while more returned from across the Tasman, and more students from India and China arrived.

The country reported a net gain of 57,800 migrants in the year through May, ahead of a 36,400 gain in the year earlier period, and the 10th consecutive month where migration has broken records, Statistics New Zealand said.

Migrant arrivals rose 15 percent from the year earlier, while departures slipped 10 percent.

New Zealand’s annual net migration already beat the Treasury’s forecast peak of 56,600, and is closing in on the 60,000 figure used for the basis of the Budget’s economic upside scenario. Under that framework, the Treasury expected faster growth over the next two years, as new migrants would fuel consumer spending, before putting more pressure on the housing market.

“We expect that the population will continue to be boosted by net monthly migration inflows around current levels for at least the next six months, which would see annual migration inflows peak around 58,000 in mid-2015,” ASB senior economist Chris Tennant-Brown said in a note. “The risk is this level of inflow remains elevated for longer than we currently forecast.”

New Zealand’s inward migration has been boosted by fewer locals leaving for Australia and more returning as the mining boom across the Tasman slows and a sharp drop in the global price of iron ore weighs on Australia’s economic prospects. Today’s figures show the smallest annual net outflow to Australia since 1992, with a net loss of 1,400 people leaving to Australia in the year ended May 31, down from 9,700 last year, and 32,900 in 2013, Statistics NZ said.

On a monthly basis, New Zealand had a net inflow of 533 migrants from Australia in May, extending the gain from April, which was the first time New Zealand reported a monthly gain from across the Tasman since 1991.

Record inbound migration has been bolstered by an increase in international students, led by Indian and Chinese arrivals. Indian arrivals doubled to a net gain of 12,100 on an annual basis, from 6,585 arrivals a year earlier to be the biggest group, while the number of people arriving from China increased 22 percent to a net gain of 7,745 people.

Arrivals from the Philippines increased 49 percent for a net gain of 4,192 people to be the fourth largest source of migration, just behind the UK, which showed a net gain of 4,473 people, declining from the previous year’s net gain of 5,719.

Separately, the number of short-term visitors to New Zealand rose 10 percent to 176,700 in May compared to the year earlier period, as Chinese short-term visitors were at a record level for a May month, Statistics NZ said.

“The number of visitors from China increased 45 percent in May 2015 compared with May 2014,” population statistics manager Vina Cullum said. “Most of this increase was from Chinese holidaymakers.”

On an annual basis visitor arrivals increased 7 percent to 2.98 million, led by more arrivals from China.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11469202

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