New Zealand’s net migrant inflow surges   21 Dec 2009

New Zealand’s net migrant inflow surges as more kiwis stay at home during recession - A big drop in the number of people leaving New Zealand permanently or on a long term basis gave the country its biggest net inflow of long term migrants for more than five years in the 12 months to November.

"A drop in departures was the major contributor to the increase in annual net migration (to November 2009), Statistics NZ said in releasing the international travel and migration statistics for November.

There was a net gain to the country of 20,000 permanent and long term migrants, the highest since the year to July 2004, when the net inflow recorded was 20,600. By comparison, a net inflow of 3600 permanent and long term migrants was recorded in the year to November 2008, reflecting at least eight months of more normal migration flows ahead of the September 2008 global credit crunch and the consequent global recession.

However, there was a net permanent and long term outflow from New Zealand to Australia of 19,500, down from 35,300 in the November 2008 year.

"Almost nine in every 10 PLT departures to Australia were New Zealand citizens (29,800)," Statistics NZ said. However, the net outflow of 800 PLT departures to Australia in the month of November was the lowest for a November month since 2002 and compared with net outflows of 2600 and 1900 in the November months of 2008 and 2007 respectively.

Short term visitor trends for November followed those seen in recent months, with Australian arrivals continuing to increase (up0 7300 or 9% on the same month last year) while visitors from most major long haul destinations continued to fall, although arrivals from Korea were only 12% (600 people) lower than November 2008, compared with decreases of at least 1200 visitors a month in every month since September 2008 until last month.

Overseas trips by New Zealand residents were up 2% on November last year to 158,400, with spikes in visits to Indonesia and Samoa, both of which were hit by tsunamis in September.

ASB economist Jane Turner said the net inflow of permanent migrants had placed greater than expected and added pressure to New Zealand house prices.

"We expect net migration inflows to ease off gradually over 2010, which should help alleviate some of the pressures on the housing market," said Turner. "Nonetheless, this current migration/housing dynamic is adding to stronger than expected inflation pressures and testing the patience of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand."


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