By Greg Ninness
The number of people gaining New Zealand residency has dropped by a third over the last three years, while those being granted work visas have increased by almost 16% over the same period.
Figures compiled by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) show that the number of residence visas approved by Immigration New Zealand has been steadily declining for the last three years, from a peak of 51,750 in the 12 months to the end of July 2016, to 34,881 in the 12 months to the end of July this year, a reduction of 16,899 (-32.6%).
That is the lowest number approved for that time period since MBIE started collating the data in 2010 (see accompanying graph).
Conversely, the number of work visas being issued has increased steadily in each of the last seven years.
In the 12 months to the end of July, 243,195 work visas were approved, which was 12,189 more (+5.2%) than were issued in the previous 12 months and 15.7% more than were issued in the 12 months to July 2016 (see graph below).
But while work visas are up and residence visas are down, student visa numbers appear relatively flat.
The MBIE figures show student visa numbers rose steadily from 77,796 in the 12 months to July 2013 to a peak of 107,931 in the 12 months to July 2017, then dropped back to 104,781 in the 12 months to July 2018 and were barely changed at 104,868 in the 12 months to July this year (see graph below).
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