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Fall continues in annual net migration

19 October 2018

Annual net migration was 62,700 for the year ended September 2018, down 8,300 from the year ended September 2017, Stats NZ said today.

Migration continues to ease from the record levels seen last year.

There were 129,000 migrant arrivals (down 2,600) and 66,200 migrant departures (up 5,600) in the year ended September 2018 compared with the same period last year.

Of the 66,200 migrant departures, more than half were New Zealand citizens (34,500). However, non-New Zealand citizens leaving the country rose to 31,800 over the 12 months.

“The increase in migrant departures, and decrease in migrant arrivals, both contributed to a lower net migration level,” population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said.

“However, the increase in migrant departures had a greater effect as the change was larger, particularly for non-New Zealand citizens.”

Non-New Zealand citizen departures were up 4,800 for the September 2018 year compared with the September 2017 year, whereas departures for New Zealand citizens only rose 800.

Arrivals on work visas up 2.5 percent

Migrant arrivals on work visas increased 2.5 percent (1,100) to 46,900 in the year ended September 2018. The different types of work visas cater to those on working holidays, seasonal workers or other working schemes. These visa types were the most popular for permanent and long-term arrivals into New Zealand, accounting for 36 percent of all migrant arrivals.

The largest group of migrants arriving on work visas was from the United Kingdom (7,200). The next largest groups were from:

• France – 3,800

• Australia – 3,200

• Germany – 3,200.

Final days for departure cards

From 5 November 2018, travellers leaving New Zealand will no longer need to complete a passenger departure card (see Final call for travel departure cards). This change will see a full adoption of the outcomes-based measure of migration, first released in May 2017 (see Outcomes versus intentions: Measuring migration based on travel histories).

Update on migration estimates

Stats NZ is also developing provisional migration estimates to maintain timely statistics. An update was published in early October (see Update on the development of provisional external migration estimates) and further updates are planned for November and December.

New release schedule

The removal of the departure card means changes to the timing and composition of the International travel and migration release. Statistics on short-term movements (including the current report International visitor arrivals to New Zealand) will be published via a new ‘International travel’ release, and long-term movements in a new ‘International migration’ release. Both releases will be published on the same day, up to 30 working days after each reference month. November data, previously published just before Christmas, will now be published in January, and December data in February (see Release calendar).

The new release schedule largely reflects the need to use integrated administrative data (ie Stats NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure) to provide place-of-residence within New Zealand of migrants and short-term resident travellers. This replaces information from the departure card. The timing is also affected by the new method to produce provisional migration estimates.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

For more information about these statistics:

• Visit International travel and migration: September 2018

• See CSV files for download


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