New Zealand’s net migration for the year to April 2019 hit 55,800 according to the latest estimates from Statistics New Zealand. This is an increase of 11 percent or 5,670 migrants compared to the year ending April 2018. While migration figures are currently estimated by Statistics New Zealand, we now have nine months of annual increases in net migration numbers. This clearly indicates that the decline in net migration which began in August 2016, after net migration peaked at 63,950 for the year to July 2016, has come to an end.
The question is will this turnaround if the decline in net migration continues for the remainder of the year?
It appears at the moment that the answer to that question will depend on whether the net migration coming from South Africa is a short run event or a much longer-term trend.
Annual net migration from Asia is the largest source of new migrants into New Zealand with around 10,000 from China, 9,100 from India, and 6,480 from the Philippines in the last year. While annual net migration from Asia is our largest source of net migrants, annual net migration from this region has fallen since the start of 2016. Annual net migration went from 40,000 a year to around 33,000 at the start of 2018, and it has been fairly flat since.
As shown in the graph the surge of net migration is coming from Europe, North America and Other countries, with annual net migration going from 12,470 in January 2018 to 17,280 in April 2019. A closer look at these numbers shows that the growth in net migration is coming from South Africa which contributed 7,730 to our April 2019 annual net migration. This made South Africa our third largest source of net migration, behind China and India.