NZ: Fewer immigrants means lower population growth

13 May 2008

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As of 31 March, 2008, the population of New Zealand reached 4.26 million people, according to Statistics New Zealand. The population increased by 40,200 in the year ending March 2008 -- 6,500 less than the same period the pervious year -- due to a slowdown in net migration.

Population growth during the year ending March 2008 was mainly due to natural increases (births minus deaths), totaling 35,500. However, the net migration gain was only 4,700 for the March 2008 year, compared to a net migration gain of 12,100 during the March 2007 year.

New Zealand's population is gradually aging. The median age for male New Zealanders increased from 32.7 years of age to 35.4 between the years ending March 1998 through March 2008. The female median age gain was more pronounced, increasing from 34.2 years of age to 37.1 years of age over the same period.

For the 65 and over age group, the rate of population growth for the March 2008 year was 2.4 percent -- compared to a 1 percent growth for the 15-64 age group.

In addition, people in New Zealand are not having enough children to make up for the growing older demographic.

"In the ten years ended March 2008, the number of children has increased just 1.5 percent, compared with respective increases of 13.8 percent and 21.6 percent for the 15–64 year and 65 years and over age groups," Statistics New Zealand said in a release.

New Zealand has implemented a proactive immigration policy called the Skilled Migrant Category aimed at importing skilled talent to shore up the aging population and balance out the labor market.

The country uses a points based system similar to the UK, Australia, and Canada. Much like the Australian General Skilled Migration program and unlike the UK's Tier 1 Visa, permanent residence can be granted very quickly for those that are successful finding employment before or after they arrive in New Zealand.

If you are interested in New Zealand immigration, we provide a free assessment form as a first step towards achieving your goal.