More NZ immigrants settling in regions

More skilled migrants are taking advantage of incentives to settle in New Zealand’s regions, new figures show.

New data shows that last year, only 4,874 of the 12,106 migrants (40 per cent) who arrived under the business and skilled migration stream stayed in Auckland.

Canterbury, Wellington and Waikato were the next three most popular regions.

Just five years ago, 51 per cent or 4,656 of 9,109 who moved to New Zealand through the migrant category settled in Auckland.

Since 2015, new and prospective skilled immigrants were given extra incentives to take up jobs and settle outside of Auckland. Those with job offers in a regional area who commit to remain there for at least 12 months, receive extra points that will count towards their residency application.

And back in November, the country’s new Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said regionalising skilled migration would be one of his top priorities. The Minister told the New Zealand Herald back in November that he would be looking through proposals, and changes to policy and rules would be announced early this year.

According to Massey University sociologist and immigration expert Professor Paul Spoonley, while the growth in migrant category arrivals settling in regions in encouraging, Auckland still dominates the overall picture.

“Auckland is still the destination for two out of every five skilled immigrants, which is still three times higher than the next region Canterbury at 14 per cent,” Professor Spoonley said. “But Auckland completely dominates the international student market, has a large number of non-skilled migrant category arrivals and has a much more complex labour market with many more options for immigrant pathways to settlement.”

Article published 8th January 2017