New Zealand immigration arrival numbers at 20-year at low

New figures show that the number of new residents settling in New Zealand has reached the lowest level since the turn of the century.

The latest Immigration New Zealand statistics show that 13,000 fewer resident visas were accepted this financial year, than when the current coalition government came to power in 2017. Approximately 34,000 residency visas were approved last year.

The last time new residents fell below this number was 1999.

The Association for Migration and Investment said there was concern that the government was driving visa decision numbers down for political reasons, and hurting industries that rely on immigrants.

However, while permanent residency approvals may be down, a record number of temporary work visa holders have been approved, topping more than 240,000 in the last year.

With this in mind, Radio New Zealand immigration reporter, Gill Bonnett, says net migration figures are still high.

“If you look at work visas, they’re still very buoyant, and a lot of people still want to come into the country as tourists and as students,” she said.

According to Bonnett, the decrease in resident numbers seen in the last year is largely because of delays in processing.

The figures show that more than 10,000 of the decline in new residents can be directly attributed to a corresponding rise in the number of unprocessed applications

“It’s not clear whether that is part of the way they’re bringing the numbers down because they have a target to reach in terms of a lower number of residents,” said Bonnett.

The government this year set a planning range of 50,000 to 60,000 new residents for the 18 months to the end of this calendar year.

Article published 19th July 2019