New Zealand annual immigration figures down

06 February 2006

The net inflow of migrants to New Zealand dropped to 7000 last year, the weakest result since 2000 and less than half 2004's gain of 15,100.
But December's figures, reported by Statistics New Zealand, were the strongest all year. A net gain of 1260, seasonally adjusted, which was more than twice the monthly average for 2005.

The trend of the seasonally adjusted figures has been improving since July, when a net gain of only 30 people was recorded.

After the three "brain drain" years of 1998 to 2000, net immigration rose sharply after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, peaking in early 2003 with annual increases of more than 40,000, or 1 per cent of the population.

The number of New Zealanders leaving last month for at least a year matched the number arriving after an absence of at least a year, but for 2005 as a whole more than twice as many left as returned - 49,200 against 24,200.

The net loss of 25,000 New Zealanders, about 0.6 per cent of the population, was up from 18,100 in 2004 and 11,200 in 2003.