Nov 4th 2018

Migration Trends 2016/2017 [MBIE]

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Migration Trends 2016/2017 annual report is the 17th in a series that examines trends in temporary and permanent migration to and from New  Zealand. The report updates trends to 2016/17 and compares recent immigration patterns with patterns identified in previous years.

Net inward migration continues to grow

New Zealand experienced a net gain of 72,300 permanent and long-term migrants in 2016/17, which was 4.7 per cent more than in 2015/16. This was the fifth consecutive year in which migration increased and the highest net gain ever recorded. This gain was because of a decline in the number of New Zealand citizens departing overseas (particularly to Australia) and an unprecedented increase in the number of non–New Zealand citizens arriving from overseas.

New student visa approval numbers fell slightly but remain high

A total of 75,578 student visa holders were present in New Zealand on 30 June 2017. This was 1 per cent less than the year before. The main contributor to this decline was a decrease of 3 per cent in the number of new student visas approved in 2016/17. This decrease was driven by a 32 per cent decline in new approvals from India (our second largest source country), which more than offset a 5 per cent rise in new approvals from China (our largest source country). Despite this decline, at 48,167, new approvals remained just over 50 per cent higher than they were in 2012/13.

Temporary worker numbers continue to grow

At 152,432, the number of temporary workers present in New Zealand on 30 June 2017 was 16 per cent higher than the year before. This growth was driven by 34 per cent growth in the number of Study to Work visa holders, 17 per cent growth in Essential Skills visa holders, 12 per cent growth in Family work visa holders and 8 per cent growth in Working Holiday Scheme visa holders. New work visa approvals grew 8 per cent in 2016/17, which was the seventh consecutive year-on-year increase.

Fewer Parent Category and Skilled Migrant Category approvals are the main drivers behind a decline in residence approvals

The number of people approved for residence in 2016/17 fell 8 per cent to 47,684 following a 21 per cent increase the year before. The decrease was driven by Parent Category approvals, which fell 63 per cent, and Skilled Migrant Category approvals, which fell 6 per cent. In October 2016, the Parent Category was closed to new applicants and the number of points required for applicants’ automatic selection to the Skilled Migrant Category was increased from 140 to 160.

View report

Migration Trends 2016/2017 [MBIE]