New Zealand immigration continues to slow

25 March 2008

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Immigration into New Zealand for the year ending in February 2008 is at its lowest point since 2001, even with its relatively liberal skilled migration policies.

In the year ending February 2008, 83,300 permanent and long-term migrants arrived in New Zealand, up 800 from the February 2007 year. Over the same period, there were 78,700 departures of residents leaving on a permanent or long-term basis.

As a result, net PLT migration was 4,600 during the February 2008 year, down from 13,200 in the February 2007 year. This is the lowest yearly figure since October 2001, according to a Statistics New Zealand report.

The net permanent and long-term migration gain of 4,600 for the February 2008 year is below the national average of 11,800 recorded for the December years from 1990-2007.

New Zealand has witnessed a substantial variation in net migration during this period. The net gain peaked at 30,200 in the April 1996 year and again at 42,500 in the May 2003 year. New losses were experienced between 1998 and 2001, with the highest net loss of 13,200 people recorded in the February 2001 year.

The downturn in net migration is attributed to a large number of New Zealand citizens leaving for Australia and is contributing to a slowdown in the Kiwi housing market. However, New Zealand offers an attractive and popular points-based skilled migration policy (similar to the UK and Australia) which allows foreign individuals with the right skills and experience to come to New Zealand to search for work.