New Zealand has had a record net gain in migrants of 61,200 in the September year, driven by more Kiwis coming home and fewer leaving for Australia.

The annual gain in migrants has been setting new records for the past 14 months, and there were 118,800 arrivals in the September year and 57,600 departures.

There was a net gain of 5600 migrants in September, the second highest ever, with seasonally adjusted permanent and long-term monthly net migration fluctuating around 5100 over the past 13 months.

There was also a net gain of 100 migrants from Australia, the sixth month in a row to show a net gain, reflecting weaker economic conditions across the Tasman.


The fall in migrant departures was mainly due to fewer New Zealand citizens leaving for Australia. Departures of Kiwis to Australia fell 15 per cent to 21,500 in the September year, which is less than half the peak departures set in the December 2010 year.

Of the migrant arrivals in the September year, some 24,700 were from Australia, with two-thirds of those being New Zealand citizens returning home.

Another 14,100 were from India, with three-quarters having student visas, 13,400 were from the UK, mostly on work visas, and 10,700 were from China, with about half having student visas.

All regions had a net gain of international migrants in the September year, with most going to Auckland and then Canterbury.

The tourism boom is also soaring with overseas visitor arrivals hitting a record annual total of 3.04 million for the September year, up 9 per cent on the previous year.

Australia was the biggest source of visitors at 1.3 million followed by China at 327,900 and the US at 237,300.

Visitor arrivals for September rose 12 per cent to 217,000, with China recording the highest ever number of visitors for a September month, up 41 per cent from the same month in 2014.