New data reveals that annual net migration to New Zealand surged to an unprecedented 133,800 over the past year.

Statistics NZ reported a staggering 91 percent increase in migrant arrivals for the year ending January, accompanied by a 30 percent rise in migrant departures.

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The majority of this influx, according to Stats NZ, came from citizens of India, contributing to a substantial increase of 51,000 arrivals in the year leading to January. Following closely behind were citizens of the Philippines, comprising the second-largest group of arrivals at 36,500.

New Zealand's net migration hits new record

New Zealand, Fiji, and South Africa rounded out the top five nationalities for immigration in the same period, as per Stats NZ.

The surge in net migration, exceeding a 114 percent rise compared to figures from 2017, presents a significant challenge for Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in striking an appropriate balance in immigration policies.

Finance Minister Nicola Willis hinted at impending immigration changes, expressing concern over the skill level of many work visa holders, particularly those with low skills.

Brad Olsen, principal economist at Infometrics, emphasized the complexity of migration policy decisions, cautioning against expecting immediate effects and stressing the need for clarity on desired skill levels.

Opposition immigration spokesperson Phil Twyford acknowledged the previous Government’s loosening of immigration settings in response to labor shortages but suggested a tightening might now be necessary.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Luxon expressed concerns about the sustainability of current migration levels, despite his pre-election commitment to attract top global talent to New Zealand under the National Party’s agenda.