The tide is slowing turning on migration, with a net gain of 6818 people in September, down from 7904 in September last year and 7069 in September 2015.
However on an annual basis population growth from migration is still running at record highs, with a net gain of 70,986 in the 12 months to September compared to 69,954 in the previous 12 months.
The decline in the gain apparent in September was caused by fewer people arriving on a permanent or long term basis, (11,121 in September this year compared to 11,676 in September last year), and an increase in the numbers leaving New Zealand permanently or long-term (4303 in September this year compared to 3772 in September last year).
The biggest decline in new arrivals has been from India, with 499 arriving long-term from that country in September, compared to 554 in September last year, and 1269 in September 2015.
There were also declines in arrivals from Australia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea and the UK compared to a year ago, while arrivals from the Philippines and South Africa were up.
The outflow of New Zealand citizens is also continuing, with 1637 more New Zealand citizens leaving the country long-term than arrived back in the 12 months to September.
However that net loss has been steadily declining for the last five years.
The figures also suggest that the number of people coming to this country on residency and student visas are declining, while those coming on work visas are starting to flatten out.
In newsletter to clients, Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said the decline in net migration was likely to continue.
“The annual inflow is now off its peak and a further slowdown appears to on the cards,” he said.
“Underlying the slowdown in net migration has been a pickup in departures of non-New Zealand citizens, which have risen from around 1900 a month last year to 2500 a month now.
“This group includes people who would have come over in recent years on temporary work and student visas.
“Typically those who come over on these programs stay for around three to four years.
“Given that the surge in foreign arrivals began in 2013, we have been expecting to see a corresponding surge in departures – that looks to have finally arrived, and we expect to see it continue over the coming months,” he said.