The net inflow of migrants reached its highest level in 4 years in the 12 months to June – 62,480 – as Covid-19 kept NZ citizens at home, outweighing a small decline in non-citizen arrivals.
Statistics NZ’s provisional estimate for the 12 months (it’s updated over the next 16 months) is that migrant arrivals rose 8.7% to 153,900 and departures fell 16.6% to 74,500.
The net flow of NZ citizens has historically been outwards, led by the net outflow of 43,732 in the June 2012 year (72,000+ out, nearly 29,000 returning), but the change in economic conditions in Australia reduced that outflow in 2013 to a net 32,000, and to a range of 2900-6400 through 2015-19.
Statistics NZ said in its report on migrant movements on Wednesday the net inflow of NZ citizens was higher than usual up to March, as those who arrived in late 2019 & early 2020 decided to stay or were unable to leave. However, since March relatively few NZ citizens had left.
Statistics NZ estimated that 45,481 NZ citizens had returned in the 12 months to June, up more than 10,000 on the previous 12 months, while 28,536 had left, a drop of more than 12,000. That took net citizen movements from a net outflow of 5726 to a net inflow of 16,945.
Non-citizen immigration has exceeded 100,000/year since 2016 while, apart from the 3 June years 2014-16, exits have exceeded 40,000 every year since 2010, reaching nearly 50,000 in the June 2018 year.
In the latest June year, non-citizen arrivals were up by 2000 to 108,459, while exits were down 2500 to 45,979.
The combination of the strong citizen turnaround and small net inflow by non-citizens lifted the overall net migrant inflow from 58,061 in the June 2019 year to 62,480 in the latest 12-month count.
Both Labour & NZ First wanted to slash immigration when they campaigned in the 2017 election, but they haven’t been successful. In round figures for June years, the net inflows rose from 26,900 in 2010 to 32,800 in 2013, to 66,800 in 2016. The inflow fell in 2017 to 61,400, then to 55,000 & 58,000 in the next 2 years before the 22,000 turnaround by NZ citizens in the latest 12 months lifted the inflow just beyond the 2017 level.
Attribution: Statistics NZ release, tables.