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Annual net gain in migrants reaches a record 72,400
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  21 August 2017

International Travel and Migration: July 2017  –  Media Release

Annual net migration reached a record 72,400 in the July 2017 year, Stats NZ said today. Migrant arrivals numbered 132,100, a new annual record, and migrant departures numbered 59,700 in the year ended July 2017.

Compared with the year ended July 2016, net migration increased by 3,400.

“Most migrants currently arrive in New Zealand on short-term work and student visas,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. “However, it’s how long they stay in New Zealand, not their visa type, which affects whether they are counted as long-term migrants or short-term visitors.”

“All people in New Zealand place demands on the country's services and infrastructure,” Mr Dolan said. “But it is those migrants who are here for a year or more that are included in estimates and projections of the resident population, and these are the basis for long-term planning.”

In the year ended July, the high net migration was mostly driven by non-New Zealand citizens, who provided New Zealand with a net gain of 73,500 new migrants, compared with 72,100 in the July 2016 year. Migration of New Zealand citizens saw a net loss of 1,100 migrants, compared with the net loss of 3,100 in the July 2016 year.

 Diagram, Permanent and long-term migration, year ended July 2017.

Of the 33,500 departures of New Zealand citizens in the July 2017 year, 62 percent were to Australia.

The biggest increases in net migration for the July 2017 year were from the United Kingdom (up 2,400) and South Africa (up 1,600). The largest decrease in net migration in the July 2017 year was from India (down 3,900 to 7,400), due to a decrease in student migrant arrivals.

New Zealand’s current gain from net migration equates to 15 people per 1,000 population. See National Population Estimates: At 30 June 2017 for more detail.

Short-term travellers or migrants?

International migration statistics rely on the information provided on passenger cards at the time of travel. The reported intended length of stay in New Zealand, or intended time away from New Zealand, largely determines whether the passenger is a short-term traveller or a migrant. Generally, visitor arrivals and resident departures are those intending to stay or be away for less than one year; migrants are those intending to stay or be away for one year or more.

See also: Visitor arrivals a record high for July – media release.


For media enquiries contact: Kim Dunstan 03 964 8330, or James Weir 021 285 9191;
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 21 August 2017

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