New Zealand takes over from Oz as expats favourite

Published:  3 Jul at 6 PM
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International relocation companies are reporting a surge in expats expressing interest in moving to New Zealand.

For the first time in over 20 years, more Australians are leaving the home country and heading south, and the surge in British interest after the Brexit referendum is gathering even more momentum. New Zealand’s uniquely dramatic scenery might have something to do with its increasing popularity, but the so-called ‘Brexit and Trump’ effect and the islands’ friendly communities are the main reasons for its soaring popularity as an expat destination.

According to one relocation specialist, New Zealand’s immigration page received 24 times its average number of hits on the day following Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. Some 56,000 visits were from USA-based computers, and actual moves to New Zealand from the USA were up by 71 per cent last November. It seems the distance between the USA and the island archipelago was unimportant compared with the need to settle away from the chaos in a beautiful country with a strong sense of community.

New Zealand’s traditional popularity as a haven for disenchanted Britons saw an 83 per cent increase during the 2016/17 financial year, racking up 350,000 enquiries during the period, a 30 per cent jump from previous years’ figures. One British tabloid noted the country has always been popular with British expats, but recent political and economic developments in the West indicate a need to live the expat dream in less discovered locations halfway across the world.

As for the Australian influx, reports show New Zealand’s booming economy is drawing refugees from the country’s dwindling mining centres and its ever-increasing cost of getting by. Living more cheaply in a familiar environment is now a major attraction. Australian immigration’s toughening up on work visas is also acting in New Zealand’s favour, according to one Scottish expat who was recently refused a 457 visa as the jobs quota had been slashed. Rather than giving up, he headed south and was welcomed to New Zealand's job opportunities and easier visa regulations.
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