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Australia remains top country of birth for new Kiwis

Australia is still the most common country of birth for people born outside New Zealand to gain citizenship, according to figures released today by the Department of Internal Affairs.

Just over 8,000 Aussies became Kiwis in 2019, either because they had a parent who is a citizen or they migrated to New Zealand. The United Kingdom comes second, with 6,050 new Kiwis, followed by India, with over 4,600.

Jeff Montgomery, General Manager Services and Access, says there are various ways people can become citizens. The easiest way is to be born here. Or people can become citizens ‘by descent’ – they have a parent who was born in New Zealand – or ‘by grant’ where they have migrated to New Zealand and applied for citizenship.

“In 2019, we gained 44,413 new foreign-born Kiwis, 13,383 by descent and 31,030 by grant. Plus, we welcomed 60,000 people who were born here.

“The trend we’ve seen in 2019 in that the number of people gaining citizenship by grant has fallen over the past few years. In 2018, 35,737 people gained citizenship by grant and in 2017, it was 36,450 people.”

The key trend in 2020 will be people applying for citizenship online.

“In October, we launched an online application service. It’s currently available to certain adults and we look forward to extending it to most other people soon.

“Since launching this service, over 1,600 people have applied. Online applications are the way of the future as they make things very easy for those applying.

“Regardless of how people become citizens, they can check their eligibility online from anywhere in the world.”

By the numbers

• Total new citizens by descent or grant for 2019: 44,413 (2018: 49,428)
• By descent in 2019: 13,383 (2018: 13,691)
• By grant in 2019: 31,030 (2018: 35,737)

Table 1: Top 10 countries of birth for people granted citizenship by descent, 2019

RankCountry of Birth Successful applicants
1Australia7406
2United Kingdom*1637
3United States of America^864
4Samoa**656
5China***434
6Canada269
7Taiwan193
8Germany137
9Korea115
10Singapore109

Table 2: Top 10 countries of birth for people granted citizenship by grant, 2019

RankCountry of birthSuccessful applicants
1India4680
2United Kingdom*4413
3Samoa**2813
4Philippines2555
5South Africa^^2463
6Fiji2013
7China***1105
8Tonga701
9United States of America^620
10Australia599

* Includes data for United Kingdom, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Great Britain.

** Includes data for Samoa and Western Samoa.

*** Includes data for China, Hong Kong, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Macau and Macao.

^ Includes data for U.S.A. and United States of America

^^ Includes data for South Africa and Transkei.


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