NZ top source of immigrants to Australia

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New Zealand is now the number one source of immigrants to Australia.

In an announcement that is sure to spark more debate on the brain drain from New Zealand, Australia announced overnight that New Zealand has overtaken Britain as the largest source country for permanent migrants to Australia.

Departmental statistics released by Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews show arrivals from New Zealand reached 23,906 last year, up from 19,033 the previous year.

The number of UK migrants remained steady at 23,223 during 2006-07.

Together, New Zealand and the UK accounted for one third of all settler arrivals.

According to Australian Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, the number of UK migrants remained steady at 23,223 in 2006-07.

"Together, New Zealand and the United Kingdom accounted for 33.6 per cent of all settler arrivals.

"Our migration programme is focused on skilled migration to ensure that new arrivals can join the work force and integrate quickly into Australian society.

Mr Andrews said his government feels that it is "essential new migrants bring skills to contribute to the work force and a commitment to integrate into the community."

The next largest source countries were India, China and the Philippines, with the number of migrants from each country increasing last year compared with 2005-06.

- AAP

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