New Zealand’s migration landscape continues to undergo dynamic shifts, marked by both triumphs and challenges. Recent data from Stats NZ, released in October, paints a vivid picture of a nation experiencing record net migration gains, surging tourism, and the ongoing departure of its own citizens, primarily to Australia.
Net Migration Gains and Losses:
In 2023, New Zealand achieved a staggering net migration gain of 110,200, propelled by an unprecedented influx of annual migrant arrivals, reaching an all-time high of 225,000. This surge, however, is tempered by 115,100 migrants leaving, a figure slightly below the annual record set in February 2012. New Zealand citizens contribute to the net migration loss, with 42,600 departing, primarily bound for Australia, accounting for 53% of departures in March 2023.The allure of Australia has been heightened by the relaxed pathways to Australian citizenship, a development that New Zealand celebrated but failed to reciprocate in terms of facilitating an easier road to New Zealand citizenship. This oversight poses a challenge for retaining the skilled workforce that the country has diligently recruited.
Non-New Zealand Citizen Arrivals:
Stats NZ’s population indicators manager, Tehseen Islam, notes that “Net migration continues to be driven by non-New Zealand citizen arrivals, with about 8 out of 9 migrants arriving on a non-New Zealand passport.” This trend follows the progressive relaxation of COVID-19-related border restrictions from early 2022, accompanied by changes to immigration settings.
Tourism Reaches New Heights:
Simultaneously, New Zealand’s tourism industry is experiencing record highs. The data reveals that the number of visitors from India reached an unprecedented 70,100 in the August year, making India the fifth-largest source of overseas visitors to New Zealand, trailing behind Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. The growing Indian population in New Zealand is reflected in the increasing connections with India, with approximately 6 in 10 Indian visitors arriving to visit friends and relatives.
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