New Zealand’s Annual Net Migration Hits A New Low

COVID-19-induced border and travel restrictions have culminated in yearly migrant arrivals and departures hitting new lows.

As per the latest data released by Stats NZ, the year ended March 2021 witnessed the biggest reduction in net migration on an annual basis.

Net migration provisionally stood at 6,600 in the year in contrast to 91,900 in the year to March last year, a decline of 85,400. Net migration was at an all-time high in the year concluded in March 2020.

New Zealand recorded a net gain of 6,600 for the year, which comprised 36,400 migrant entrances and 29,800 exits this year.

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Migrant arrivals are foreign residents, including NZ nationals residing abroad, who spend a total of 12 of the following 16 months in NZ once they arrive. Migrant departures are NZ residents, including non-NZ nationals who live in the Kiwiland and spend a total of 12 of the following 16 months outside of the country after leaving.

Tehseen Islam, population indicators manager, stated that these were the lowest annual numbers on migrant arrivals and migrant departures witnessed since 1986 and 1969, respectively. Nevertheless, New Zealand still has a net migration gain as migrant entrances outnumber exits.


Net gain in NZ citizens due to lesser departures than arrivals

In the year ended March 2021, a net gain of 15,500 NZ citizens was partially counteracted by a net loss of 8,900 non-NZ citizens.

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Mr Islam stated that NZ has witnessed a net migration loss of NZ nationals and a net migration gain of non-NZ nationals historically on an annual basis, but coronavirus-induced travel and border limitations had inverted that trend.

He added that migration predictions had signalled a temporary net gain of NZ citizens since December 2019.

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The net increase in NZ citizens for the year is largely due to lesser NZ citizens leaving the country than entering. The considerable reduction in migrant arrivals compared to departures prompted the net loss of non-NZ citizens in the year ended March 2021.

Border crossings also saw an annual drop

As per Stats NZ, coronavirus-induced border and travel controls resulted in historic yearly falls in arrivals and departures across the NZ border in the year ended March 2021.

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319,700 people crossed the border this year ended in March 2021, with 127,600 entrances and 192,100 exits. However, there were 13.6 million border crossings in the year concluded in March 2020, with 6.8 million arrivals and 6.8 million exits.