New Zealand's annual net migration dropped in June as fewer foreigners arrived and more Kiwis left, but remains high.
Annual net migration was at 65,000 in the year to June, from 72,300 in the year to June 2017, Statistics New Zealand said. A net 66,800 foreigners immigrated to New Zealand in the June year, while a net 1,800 Kiwis left the country.
The number of non-New Zealanders migrating here dipped 1.4 per cent from the year earlier, at 129,500 from 131,400 in the year to June 2017, which is the first time that annual figure has been below 130,000 since April 2017, Stats NZ said. The number of non-New Zealanders leaving rose 9.2 per cent to 64,500 in the year.
New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years, which made rising immigration a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and is blamed for inflating property markets.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Net migration peaked at 72,400 in the July 2017 year, and Stats NZ said today that migrants leaving continues to be the key factor in lowering annual net migration and "net migration still remains high by historical standards."
Increasing numbers of migrants came on work visas in the latest year, up 3 per cent to 46,400 from the previous year to June, with residence visa numbers down 17 per cent to 13,900 and student visas dropping 1.8 per cent to 23,600.
The United Kingdom remained the biggest source of work-visa migrants, though that number dropped 2.5 per cent to 7,300 in the latest year, as did the second and third-largest sources France and Germany which respectively dropped 3.7 per cent and 8.3 per cent. The biggest increases in work visa arrivals came from China, which rose 22.5 per cent to 2,300 in the year, and the Philippines, which was up 19 per cent to 2,500.
China continued to be the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, though that dropped 22 per cent to 2,700 in the year. Chinese migration remained the largest on a net basis, with 8,100 of net arrivals coming from China, though that was down 21 per cent on a year earlier. India was the second-largest source at a net 6,800, though Indian net migration was also down 8 per cent from a year earlier.
Short-term visitor arrivals, which includes tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.8 million in the June year, up 3.8 per cent from a year earlier.