New statistics released last week from Statistics New Zealand have announced numbers for visitor arrivals to the country. Visitor arrivals is a figure which includes both travel visitors and migrants. In terms of looking at migrant levels only, New Zealand received 100,800 migrants in the period June 2013 – June 2014. This is the highest number ever recorded for a year and the first time the figure has reached over 100,000. This also represents a 14% increase when compared to the same period the previous year.
When factoring in the departures, this has resulted in the country experiencing a net gain of over 38,000 migrants, the highest for over 10 years.
Migrants come from all around the world but the majority during this period have come from India, China, the UK, the Philippines and France. In total, the 5,500 migrants came from the UK during this period. In addition, many New Zealanders are also returning home from Australia and other parts of the world.
Many migrants are attracted to this South Pacific country’s very strong economy. It has in particular a strong export economy, fuelled by demand from Asian countries. The strong economic health of the nation has also encouraged New Zealanders to return home.
The re-build project in Christchurch and surrounding areas due to the 2011 earthquake is no doubt driving migration to some extent. Thousands of skilled construction and trade workers such as electricians, plumbers and joiners are needed to assist with the re-build. Construction Project Managers have also been in high demand. The new Christchurch involves the creation of new residential and commercial buildings, is estimated to cost NZD 40 bn and is managed by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera).
The increased migration has caused New Zealand house prices to increase and therefore migration is a hot topic at the moment among politicians and in particular in the lead up to the next election. Some proposals from various political parties include encouraging to smaller, regional town rather than the large cities. Some other proposals include restricting property investment in the larger cities for migrants.
Statistics New Zealand – www.stats.govt.nz