Net migration equals March record

Annual net migration was steady in April, as 71,900 more migrants arrived in New Zealand than left, Stats NZ said today. This is the same level as in March 2017.

Migrant arrivals grew to 129,800 in the April 2017 year, a new record, and migrant departures were up slightly to 57,900.

Arrivals from Asia were down 5.6 per cent to 42,787, mainly due to a 30 per cent decline in Indian migrants, down 4,021 compared to the April 2016 year.

Arrivals from Europe increased 10.8 per cent, mainly from the UK (up 10.7 per cent), France (up 11.9 per cent) and Germany (up 13.1 per cent) bringing 30,722 new residents into the country for the April 2017 year.

Stats NZ’s current method of collecting migration figures is based on arrival and departure cards. A new data series of migrant activity based on data between 2001 and 2015, released today, shows the two methodologies line up well in terms of net migration.

“The new ‘12/16-month rule’ measure identifies an individual’s migrant status after their travel history is observed over a 16-month follow-up period,” Dolan said.

“Independent of the traveller’s legal residence status and the intentions they state on their passenger card, when we compare this new measure with existing migration statistics we find the net permanent and long-term migration measure provides a timely and robust indicator of international migration’s contribution to changes in our resident population.” 

However, both arrivals and departures were estimated at higher levels by this new rule, as short-term visits turned into longer stays, both for returning citizens and New Zealanders going overseas.

Visitor arrivals were up 10 per cent, setting a new annual record at 3.6 million. Arrivals topped 311,900 in the month of April, up 21 per cent compared to April 2016. Stats NZ attributed this boom to the Easter holidays, which fell in April this year, but March in 2016.

“Almost 35,000 more holiday-makers arrived in New Zealand in April 2017 than in April 2016, which was the main contributor to the strong overall increase in visitor arrivals in April,” Dolan said.

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