Chinese, UK and Australian immigrants drive NZ net migration to new record in May
By Sophie Boot
June 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand annual net migration hit another record in May driven by foreign immigrants, with most coming from China, the UK and Australia.
Annual net migration reached 72,000 in the year to May 31 versus 68,400 in the same period a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Three-quarters of the 130,400 migrant arrivals were non-New Zealand citizens, with New Zealanders leaving and returning to the country almost balancing each other out in the last year. There has been a net migration gain of 73,000 non-New Zealand citizens in the past year.
New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years as economic growth outpaced Australia's, meaning fewer locals moved across the Tasman. Rising immigration is shaping up to be a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and has been blamed for inflating property markets.
Chinese citizens accounted for 12 percent of migrant arrivals in the year, while 10 percent each came from the UK and Australia. Annual migrant arrivals from India dropped 31 percent to 9,200 in the year, with a 40 percent drop in annual student visas granted to Indian citizens, which was offset by gains from the UK and South Africa.
China continued to make up the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, rising 18 percent to 3,419 in the year to the end of May, ahead of the total residence visa gain of 11 percent to 16,700. There was a 14 percent increase in work visas granted in the year, to 44,500, while student visas dropped 14 percent to 23,700 and NZ and Australian citizen arrivals rose 4 percent to 38,300.
Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.6 million in the year ended May 31, up 10 percent from a year earlier and a new annual record, Stats NZ said. Most came on holiday or to visit family and friends, and 40 percent were from Australia while 11 percent were from China.
New Zealand residents took a record 2.7 million overseas trips in the May 2017 year, up 11 percent from the May 2016 year, with the biggest increases to Australia, the United States and China.