Population growth from migration appears to be finally flattening out at just under 70,000 new residents a year.
Latest figures from Statistics NZ show there was a net gain (the number of long term arrivals minus the number of long term departures) of 6450 people in July, down very slightly form the net gain of 6525 people in June (see the interactive chart below for the long term trend).
On an annual basis migration provided 69,015 new residents in the year to July, marginally down from the 69,100 in the year to June, ending a 23 month run of record breaking annual net gains in migrants.
However the net gain of 69,015 in the year to July was still hugely up on the 59,639 gain in the year to July 2015, and the net gain of 41,043 in the year to July 2014.
The biggest source country for migrants remains India with a net gain of 11,313 people from that country in the year to July, followed by China and Hong Kong 10,851, The Philippines 4926, the UK 4384, South Africa 3222, France 3122 and Germany 3029.
In the year to July there was a net loss of 3069 New Zealand citizens to other countries, and a net gain of 72,084 citizens from other countries.
Auckland continues to be the destination of choice for migrants with 53,213, new long term arrivals indicating they intended to reside in the region, followed by Canterbury which attracted 12,631.
However there were another 21,059 new arrivals who did not indicate where they intended to live and many of them probably also settled in Auckland or Canterbury.
Classified by visa type, the biggest category of total arrivals was the 39,384 people who arrived on work visas in the year to July, up 10.8% on the previous year, followed by 36,459 Australian and New Zealand citizens (who do not need visas) up 4.3% on the previous year, 26,782 on student visas which was up just 0.3% on the previous year and 15,543 who arrived on residency visas, up 12.2% on the previous year.
In a First Impressions note on the figures, Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said migration inflows were expected to slowly decline.
“We continue to expect annual net migration to slow over the coming years from current record levels,” she said.
“Foreigners who have arrived on temporary or student visas over the past three years will start to depart.
“In addition, an improving Australian labour market is expected to once again entice New Zealanders across the Tasman.
“However this will take time, meaning annual net migration will remain at elevated levels for some time yet.”
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