Migration inflow turns positive

Monday March 04, 2013

New Zealand registered a small, yet positive, net migration inflow for the year to January 2013.  New Zealand attracted 85,659 people for permanent and long -term migration.  This compared with 85,647 departures for the year, which are 1,077 people less than a year earlier.



Leading those who came to the country intending to stay for a period of 12 months or more and those New Zealand residents returning after an absence of more than a year were from Australia, United Kingdom (UK), China, India and the USA in the year ending January 2013.  New Zealand welcomed over 15,100 people from Australia and another 13,900 people from the United Kingdom.  There were about 8,000 permanent and long-term arrivals from China for the year ending January 2013.


Comparing this year’s 12-month permanent and long-term arrivals with last year’s, there was a decline in arrivals from UK (550 people), Ireland (268 people) and Malaysia (283 people).  This was partly offset by gains in arrivals from Australia, with over 1,200 more returning New Zealand residents intending to stay for 12 months or more.  Overall, New Zealand welcomed 2,000 more people compared to last year.



On the other hand, permanent and long-term departures had been falling since the first quarter of 2012.  Compared to the same period last year, there were 1,077 fewer departures in the 12 months leading to January 2013.  There were fewer departures to Europe and Asia but departures for Australia increased from a year earlier level.


In the 12 months to January 2013, over 53,000 New Zealand residents left for Australia, outweighing the 15,100 permanent and long-term arrivals from the same country.  New Zealand had a net loss of migrants to Australia in the 12 months to January 2013 of 37,936.  Better wages and job prospects continue to pull New Zealand residents across the Tasman.  Based on a survey of 18,000 Kiwis working and living overseas conducted by Kiwi Expat Association in 2012, only half of Kiwi expats intend to return, mostly for family and lifestyle reasons.


With the prospects for a stronger economy remaining elusive, with uncertainties in the labour market persisting, skill and talent leakage to Australia and to larger economies is likely to continue.