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Net annual migration passes 71,000
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  27 February 2017

International Travel and Migration: January 2017  –  Media Release

A record 71,300 more migrants arrived in New Zealand than left in the January 2017 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. This surpassed the previous annual record set in December 2016. The net gain reflected an increasing number of people arriving here and fewer leaving to live overseas.

Graph, Annual net permanent and long-term migration, Year ended January 1997 to 2017.

 Migrant arrivals numbered 128,300 in the January 2017 year, a new annual record.

"About a fifth of all migrant arrivals were from Australia," population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. "Almost two-thirds of the migrant arrivals from Australia were New Zealand citizens."

 Visa types contributing most to the migrant arrivals were:

  • work visas (42,400 – up 4,200)
  • New Zealand and Australian citizens (37,900 – up 1,700)
  • student visas  (24,300 – down 3,600)
  • residence visas (16,700 – up 2,600).

Migrant departures were 57,000 in the January 2017 year.

Visitor arrivals break another record in the year ending January 2017

Annual visitor arrivals for January 2017 year numbered 3.54 million, setting a new record. This was an 11 percent increase from the January 2016 year.

Visitor arrivals numbered 381,100 in January 2017, setting a new January record. The latest month’s figure was up 11 percent from January 2016.

"The strong increase in visitor arrivals in January 2017 coincided with the Chinese New Year," Mr Dolan said. "Over 54,000 visitors from China arrived in New Zealand in January 2017."

New Zealanders depart on highest-ever number of overseas trips

New Zealand residents set a new annual record of 2.64 million overseas trips in the January 2017 year, up 9 percent from the January 2016 year.

In January 2017, New Zealand residents made 165,700 trips overseas, up 14 percent from January 2016.

International migration statistics rely on the information provided on passenger cards at the time of travel. The reported length of intended stay in New Zealand or time away from New Zealand determines whether the passenger is a visitor or migrant.

Seasonal fluctuations in short-term traveller numbers describes how the number of overseas visitors in New Zealand, and New Zealand residents travelling overseas, varies across each day of the year.


For media enquiries contact: Kirsten Nissen, Christchurch 03 964 8700,
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 27 February 2017  

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