New Zealand immigration boom not as big as reported

A new Statistics New Zealand report has found that New Zealand’s recent immigration boom was not as big as reported at the time.

According to revised figures, net migration in New Zealand peaked at 64,000 in mid-2016, and not 72,500 in 2017 as had previously been reported.

The current net migration level is around 43,000 – about 20,000 fewer migrants a year than previously thought.

Stats NZ had revised the figures based on new research about how many of new long-term arrivals actually stayed in the country.

The new figures were made using the outcomes method, which measures how many people actually leave the country, instead of the intentions method, which relied on arrival and departure cards.

“It is the first release of these statistics since the departure card was removed, and includes only outcomes data,” population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said in a statement.

Departure cards were removed from airports in November 2018, with Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway saying it would make travelling into the country smoother.

“It will also save more than 100,000 hours of time currently spent by travellers completing more than 6.5 million departure cards per year,” he said when the decision was announced in August 2018.

The nation’s net immigration in the four years to October 2018 was about 220,000, according to the revised data.

Former finance minister Steven Joyce announced on Twitter last week that the changes arose out of concerns he had about Stats NZ potentially miscounting how many international students were actually permanent migrants.

Article published 5th February 2019