PHOTO: New Zealand was once a great country to live in. FILE
According to the most recent data from Statistics New Zealand, there is a notable influx of migrants into New Zealand, while a significant number of New Zealanders are departing from the country. The data, released on Wednesday, reveals that New Zealand has recorded a net migration gain of 110,200 during the August year.
This gain can be attributed to a record-high annual migrant arrival figure of 225,000 during the same period. However, this is somewhat offset by 115,100 migrants leaving, which is slightly below the previous annual record of 117,400 set in February 2012.
Simultaneously, New Zealand citizens are experiencing a net migration loss of 42,600 during this period, just below the previous record loss of 44,400 in February 2012. The primary destination for departing New Zealand citizens is Australia, with Stats NZ data revealing that in March 2023, 53 percent of New Zealand citizens leaving the country were heading to Australia.
Population indicators manager Tehseen Islam noted that net migration trends are primarily driven by non-New Zealand citizen arrivals, with roughly 8 out of 9 migrants arriving on a non-New Zealand passport. These trends have been influenced by a gradual relaxation of COVID-19-related border restrictions starting in early 2022, coupled with changes to immigration policies.
In addition to migration trends, New Zealand is also experiencing record levels of tourism. Stats NZ data released on Wednesday indicates that the number of visitors arriving from India reached an all-time high of 70,100 during the August year.
India now stands as the fifth-largest source of overseas visitors to New Zealand, following Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. The number of Indian visitors has been steadily increasing, with their ranking climbing from 19th place in 2003 to 10th in 2013 and 9th in 2019.
Tehseen Islam mentioned that around 6 in 10 Indian visitor arrivals in August 2023 were to visit friends and relatives, in contrast to the 3 in 10 ratio observed in 2003. This trend aligns with the growing Indian population living in New Zealand and the increasing connections between the two countries.
Overall, there were 206,800 overseas visitor arrivals in August 2023, accounting for 82 percent of the pre-COVID-19 levels seen in August 2019. In comparison, overseas visitor arrivals in August 2022 were 129,800, equivalent to 52 percent of the August 2019 figures.
Furthermore, there has been a notable increase in overseas visitor arrivals, with approximately 14,000 more visitors from the United States in July and August 2023 compared to the same period in 2019. This coincides with the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
The increase in international flights landing in and departing from New Zealand reflects the resurgence of travel. In August 2023, 2,800 flights landed in New Zealand, a notable increase from the 1,900 flights in August 2022. This surge in travel follows the gradual relaxation of travel restrictions since early 2022, which allowed more people to cross the border. Starting from August 1, 2022, New Zealand opened its borders to all visitors and students, further stimulating travel.