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NZ's record inflow of migrants continues

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/02/2017 Jonathan Underhill

New Zealand continued to be a magnet for migrants and tourists in January, breaking 2016's records as the nation welcomed more people from the UK, South Africa and China, and the number of short-term visitors jumped.

Annual net migration rose to 71,305 in the 12 months ended January 31, eclipsing the record 70,600 set in calendar 2016, Statistics New Zealand said.

People arriving as permanent and long-term migrants outnumbered those departing by 128,290 to 56,985 in the latest 12 months.

Of those arriving, 56,231, or 44 per cent of the total were bound for Auckland, more than four times the number headed for the second-most popular destination of Canterbury with 12,785.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.54 million in the year ended January 31, up 11 per cent from a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said.

Visitors from Australia rose 6.3 per cent to 1.4 million while those from China climbed 14 per cent to 422,256, American visitors jumped almost 20 per cent to 296,640 and British gained 6.5 per cent to 221,136. Japanese visitors rose 14 per cent to 101,008, and a strong gain was also recorded from Germans who rose 15 per cent to 99,472.

The Reserve Bank, which has been confounded by persistently high migration and its impact on the city of Auckland and its property prices in particular, expects the net inflow to abate as growth reignites in other economies. It is expected to start hiking interest rates as soon as this year in the face of resurgent inflation and sturdy economic growth.

There are some negative trends. While India continues to be the top source of arrivals on student visas, the total number declined 39 per cent to 6,457 in the year, which may a reflect a crackdown on bogus or low-wattage courses and fraudulent recruitment agents for educational institutes.

Students from China rose 2.1 per cent to 5,612. Total permanent and long-term arrivals on student visas dropped 13 per cent to 24,297.

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