New Zealand migration levels set to fall

A new report from New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is predicting that net migration will fall to around 65,000 by next June.

The Migration Trends 2016/17 report shows that the number of people approved for residence fell eight per cent in the last financial year (1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017) to 47,684, following a 21 per cent increase the year before. The drop was driven by Parent Category approvals, which fell 63 per cent after the Category was closed to new applicants in October 2016. Skilled Migrant Category approvals fell six per cent following an increase in the number of points required for automatic selection.

The number of migrants granted residence and staying in New Zealand for five years or longer is on the rise, however – up from 80 per cent in 2001/02 to 89 per cent now.

The report notes that on 30th June last year there were 152,432 temporary workers present in New Zealand – an increase of 16 per cent on the year before.

The report also found that the 75,578 student visa holders present in New Zealand on 30 June last year was one per cent less than the year before, largely as a result of an eight per cent fall in the number of full-fee paying students and a 24 per cent drop in Indian students.

The Ministry’s December 2017 baseline forecast is for annual net migration to decline by eight per cent, reaching 64,000 in December 2019. Departures and arrivals are both forecast to rise with departures increasing at a faster rate.

The forecasts are driven by emerging trends in the historical data and the forecast economic and labour market performance of New Zealand relative to other countries. They do not estimate the impact of future policy changes.

The latest forecast assumes a lower unemployment rate and higher wage growth in New Zealand than in Australia over the next two years.

Article published 4th April 2018