New Zealand permanent residency visas in decline

New figures show that the number of people gaining New Zealand residency has dropped by a third over the last three years, while those being granted work visas have increased by almost 16 per cent over the same period.

The latest data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) shows that, having reached peak levels in recent years, the number of people arriving to live permanently in NZ has fallen steadily. A total of 51,750 people arrived to live permanently in the country in the 12 months to the end of July 2016, but the 12 months to the end of July this year only to 34,881 in arrived. This is a reduction of 16,899 (-32.6 per cent) and the lowest number of residency approvals for that time period since the MBIE started collating the data in 2010.

However, the number of temporary work visas being issued has increased steadily in each of the last seven years.

In the 12 months to the end of this July, 243,195 work visas were approved. This was 12,189 more (+5.2 per cent) than were issued in the previous 12 months and 15.7 per cent more than were issued in the 12 months to July 2016.

There has been no discernible change in the number of student visas being allocated in the last three years.

According to the MBIE figures, while student visa numbers rose steadily from 77,796 in the 12 months to July 2013 to a peak of 107,931 in the 12 months to July 2017, they then dropped back to 104,781 in the 12 months to July 2018 and were barely changed at 104,868 in the 12 months to July this year.

Having been welcoming record numbers of immigrants in recent years, the NZ government last year introduced tougher measures to restrict the flow of permanent migrants seeking residency.

Article published 29th August 2019