New Zealand immigration figures down in August

22 September 2007

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New Zealand immigration figures for August show that fewer migrants are migrating to the Pacific island nation and more New Zealand citizens are leaving the country compared to the same time last year.

Statistics New Zealand stated that for the year ending in August 2007, New Zealand had a net permanent and long-term migration gain of 8,700 -- down 3,800 for the same timed period ending in August 2006.

The number was below the national annual average of 12,200 calculated from the December years between 1990 and 2006. However, there was a considerable amount of variation in net migration during the seventeen years since 1990.

Two net gain peaks were experienced in April of 1996 (with a net migration of 30,200) and May of 2003 (with a net migration of 42,500). New Zealand experienced net outflows mainly during 1998-2001, with the highest net loss of 13,200 people during the February 2001 year.

Overall, since 1998, arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens to the country have been on the rise, peaking at approximately 75,000 during 2002-03. In contrast, New Zealand citizen departures have been on the rise since 2003, after a sharp peak of approximately 63,000 departures during 2000-01.

New Zealand has been actively promoting immigration to the country through its points-based Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). Through the SMC, skilled immigrants can receive a visa to come and find work in New Zealand.

In addition to recently raising the job-hunting time from 6 to 9 months, the New Zealand government instituted a number of changes to the SMC on 31 July 2007 including awarding more points for skilled experience in certain sectors and awarding more points for having qualifications from New Zealand institutions. The changes are designed to increase skilled immigration to the country.