New Zealand immigration demographics heading for shake up

Published:  22 Dec at 6 PM
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For decades, New Zealand has been a favourite expat destination, with Britons and Australians making up a high proportion of new arrivals.

New Zealand has always been a popular destination for UK citizens looking to retire, start businesses or enjoy a better quality of life, with Australian migrants making up the numbers on a regular basis. A new wave of British migrants arrived following the disastrous Christchurch earthquake after the government sent out urgent calls for construction professionals to take part in the devastated city’s rebuilding.

Nowadays, it’s beginning to look as though the demographic structure of New Zealand’s immigrant community is changing, perhaps for ever. This year’s figures to the end of November showed a net arrival of 71,700 non-citizens, slightly down on the 2016 figures. The number of New Zealand citizens leaving fell to 1,300 this year from 1,900 in 2016, giving a net migration figure of 70,400.

Over the last few years, the country has experienced record net migration levels, but migrants’ countries of origin seem to be changing. As in many other world countries, emigrant Chinese arrivals remain high, with 9.500 admitted this year, and Indian immigrant arrivals in 2017 now amount to 6.800. Non-citizen arrivals this year totalled higher at 99,500 from 95,100, with Chinese immigrants the driving force of the increase.

Australian immigrants, formerly a major force, amounted to a net figure of 20 as against 2016’s 1,800, showing a strong increase in those returning to Oz. As regards immigrants on residence visas, China is now the largest source, with 3,100 this year out of a total number of 15,700, lower than last year. Student visa numbers are also falling, but the number of immigrants on work visas has increased by 12 per cent.

Perhaps the most interesting variant was the net increase in immigrants from the USA to 2,000, a 50 per cent increase, and the UK net migration figures are also up by 20 per cent at 6.500. With New Zealanders staying put, Australians no longer arriving, increased numbers of Brit expats due to Brexit, US migrants getting away from Trump and increasing hordes of Chinese, speculating what the country will be like in 10 years or so may be an interesting exercise.
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