Expats fuelling population growth in New Zealand

Published:  15 Feb at 6 PM
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New Zealand’s population is set to hit five million by 2020, and it’s mostly down to increasing numbers of expat arrivals.

The total population of New Zealand reached 4.9 million by the end of September 2018, with the upswing continuing at the rate of one person every five minutes! According to data released by Statistics New Zealand, in the year from September 2017 to September 2018, 66 per cent of the 90,000 population increase was via migration to the country. Over the past five years, the dominant driver of population growth has been migration not only from neighbouring Australia, but from all corners of the world.
New Zealand is now home to a million expats who were born overseas, whilst many hundreds of thousands of New Zealand citizens are living in Australia and other world countries.

The influx of new expat arrivals has uncovered an interesting development in that newer immigrants feel safer than those who’d arrived over five years ago. Sadly, around a quarter of recent arrivals said they’d experienced discrimination during the past 12 months or so, as against 16 per cent of nationals and long-term expatriates. Also, recently arrived immigrants were likely to be far more trusting of strangers and less nervous waiting for public transportation in the late evening and when walking in their neighbourhoods after dark. Recently-arrived female immigrants also felt safe walking alone at night, more so than do their Kiwi counterparts.

In addition, a high number of recently-arrived expat professionals were happy with their work-life balance, with immigrant workers comprising around 25 per cent of the islands’ total workforce. Nowadays, the majority of expats possess a university degree at bachelors’ level or higher, and many had more relevant work experience than long-term migrants living in the country for over five years. New Zealand’s immigration policies now favour highly-skilled workers, the majority of whom tend to be younger than the average age of migrants arriving a decade ago.
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