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Migration Trends in 2010/2011

30 August 2011

Migration Trends in 2010/2011

The global economic crisis is having an impact on the number of people migrating to New Zealand, as shown in the Labour and Immigration Research Centre’s Migration Trends Key Indicators Report, released today.

The report shows 40,700 people were approved for residence in 2010/11, which was, as anticipated, below the New Zealand Residence Programme planning range of 45,000-50,000. The shortfall reflects labour market conditions, the effects of the global economic crisis on skilled migration internationally and disruptions caused by the Canterbury earthquakes.

Labour and Immigration Research Centre Head Vasantha Krishnan says the lower numbers of resident approvals was no surprise.

“Like other OECD countries, New Zealand has not been immune to the decrease in skilled migration. Potential skilled migrants are less willing and able to migrate, while fewer skilled job offers have been available in New Zealand.”

These findings are consistent with the OECD's International Migration Outlook report for 2011. The OECD notes that the global economic slowdown has had a significant impact on migration in OECD countries, especially migration driven by labour demand. In their press release, the OECD Secretary-General states “the demand for labour migration will pick up again.”

The Migration Trends Key Indicators report also shows that Essential Skills work approvals for 2010/11 were 3 percent lower than last year.

“The Christchurch earthquake had a short-term impact on migration of skilled workers to the region, but there will be more opportunities for skilled workers as the rebuild gains momentum.”

“As economic growth accelerates across New Zealand the demand for workers will increase, creating opportunities for both New Zealanders and migrants.”

The labour market is improving and the unemployment rate is expected to fall to 5.3 percent by 2013.

There was an increase in the number of temporary work approval numbers in the 2010/11 year, due to increases in the number of working holidaymakers (up 8 percent) and those approved a ‘study to work’ visa (up 16 percent).

Student visas increased 2 percent on the previous year, to 74,900 in 2010/11. Student numbers from India have continued to grow and India has become a prominent source of students in our international export education sector.

“The increases in these areas are encouraging because the attraction and retention of skilled migrants are one way of meeting current and future demand for skilled workers.”

The Migration Trends Key Indicators Report is available at www.dol.govt.nz/research


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