Net migration soars to record heights

2:53 pm on 2 November 2015

Net migration has reached record levels, with more international students and temporary workers arriving in the country and fewer New Zealanders departing, a new report shows.

New Zealand had a net gain of 58,300 migrants in the 2014/2015 year, the government's latest 'Migration Trends and Outlook' report said.

China was the largest source country at 17 percent of incoming migrants, followed closely by India at 16 percent and then the UK at 11 percent.

The proportion of skilled migrants from India has grown steadily by 15 percent since 2005/2006, while UK numbers slumped by 29 percent in that time.

International student numbers soared by 16 percent from last year to 84,856, with 27 percent of all students approved to study coming from China.

Half of all migration was to Auckland, with a net 26,800 people moving to the region, compared to just 6400 in Canterbury, the second highest region.

Yesterday, new migration laws aimed at spreading settlement outside of Auckland came into effect.

The changes will mean skilled migrants applying for residence in the regions have a much higher chance of being accepted.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said migrants would also be required to stay in their approved place of residence for at least 12 months before moving.

"Improving the regional focus of the Entrepreneur Work Visa will boost the number of migrants moving to the regions with business experience, capital investment and job creation credentials.

"These changes will contribute to a better balance in our immigration settings and will allow regions to access more of the people, skills and investment they need to build the local growth needed to support jobs and higher incomes," he said.

The 'Migration Trends and Outlook' report estimated that migration would reach peak levels in September this year and drop slowly until mid-2017.

Read the report (PDF, 1.6MB)

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs