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Immigration outpaces New Zealanders leaving

NZ net migration up in August, immigration outpaces New Zealanders leaving

By Sophie Boot

Sept. 21 (BusinessDesk) - 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 3,000 on the same period a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Three-quarters of the record 132,200 migrant arrivals were non-New Zealand citizens, while 1,500 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 9,900 of the 72,100 net arrivals from China, though that was down 1.7 percent on a year earlier. India was the second-largest source at 7,300 net, though Indian net migration was down 32 percent from a year earlier, with a 27 percent drop in annual student visas granted to Indian citizens.

Migration from the UK had the biggest increase on a net basis, up 47 percent to 6,700, with net South African migration up 44 percent to 4,900. The number of net migrants from Australia dropped to 226, from 1,800 a year earlier.

China continued to be the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, rising 6.1 percent to 3,300 in the year to the end of August, ahead of the total residence visa gain of 4.9 percent to 16,500. There was a 16 percent increase in work visas granted in the year, to 45,800, while student visas dropped 7.7 percent to 24,000 and NZ and Australian citizen arrivals rose 4.7 percent 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 percent from a year earlier and a new annual record, Stats NZ said. The number of people coming to New Zealand on holiday rose 11 percent 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 percent from the August 2016 year, with the biggest increases from people going to Vietnam, Cambodia, and French Polynesia. There was a 13 percent drop in the number of people going to Vanuatu, and a 4 percent 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 percent annually.



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