Migrant arrivals have soared well above even pre-Covid levels and in March alone, 21,400 migrants arrived, the biggest monthly migrant arrivals estimate ever.
And although far more New Zealand citizens left the country than arrived, new migrant numbers from other nations more than made up for that loss.
Stats NZ released new data today showing net migration surging to 65,400 in the year ending March 31.
Arrivals for the year were 161,900, up 199 per cent. Departures were up too, but by 31 per cent to 96,500.
The arrival numbers were far above the long-term average of 119,000 for March years before the pandemic.
The departures were slightly above the long-term average of 91,500, excluding years when Covid was rampant.
New Zealand citizens were the largest group of arrivals, at 28,500.
The next largest groups were from India, China, the Philippines, South Africa, Australia, Fiji and the UK.
As for departures, Kiwi citizens again comprised the largest group, with 51,900 leaving.
Others who left in significant numbers were citizens of China, India, Australia, the UK and the United States.
And today’s data release indicated a major shift from mid-2022.
From November 2020 to June 2022, every month except one recorded a net migration loss.
The stats are closely watched because migration numbers can impact employment rates, rental prices, and other major social and economic issues.
“There have been 12 consecutive months of net migration gains of non-New Zealand citizens from April 2022, amounting to 88,900,” Stats NZ said today.
That compared with a net migration loss of 32,300 non-New Zealand citizens from April 2020 to March 2022, when Covid-related border and travel restrictions were in place.
The Stats NZ numbers are prone to revision. But ASB economists said the new data reinforced a clear trend of strengthening net immigration continues.
On current trends, net immigration is on track to top 100,000 persons annually by mid-year,” the bank added.
As the Herald reported earlier this week, tourism inflows seem to have plateaued, with Chinese visitor numbers still low.
“The period of strengthening net permanent and long-term inflows has continued, with arrivals of non-NZ citizens hitting record highs,” ASB added.
“The easing of residency requirements for NZ residents into Australia will likely maintain the allure of NZ as a migration destination, even if it is for more of a springboard into Australia.”
ASB said more people settling into New Zealand boosted both the demand and supply sides of the economy.
“The general view is that increased net immigration would add slightly more to inflationary pressures, largely via its (positive) impact on the housing market.”
An ASB analysis of arrival numbers suggested the recent migration surge could prove helpful in addressing labour market bottlenecks.