sign up log in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

Work and student visa approvals at 10-year high, residence visa approvals at 10-year low

Work and student visa approvals at 10-year high, residence visa approvals at 10-year low

The number of work and student visas approved by Immigration NZ were at a 10-year high last year, while residence visas were at a 10-year low (the full year figures are only available as far back as 2010).

Figures complied by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (Immigration NZ is part of MBIE) show that just under a quarter of a million (248,910) work visas were approved last year, up 5% compared to 2018 and up 49% compared to 2010.

Student visas were also up but not as strongly, with 108,645 approved last year, up 4% compared to 2018 and up 13% compared to 2010.

However residence visas headed in the opposite direction, with 34,293 approved last year, down 13% compared to 2018 and down 23% compared to 2010.

It also means that just over 10,000 fewer residence visas were approved last year than in 2010, and more than 15,000 fewer than the peak of 49,659 approved in 2016 (see graph below).

MBIE also keeps track of the number of migrants entering or leaving the country and this data shows that at the end of December 2019 there were 424,965 people in this country on work, residence or student visas. However the residence visa numbers are understated because MBIE stops counting them after five years and treats them as citizens.

The number of people on work, residence or student visas was up 28% compared to December 2014, giving an increase of 93,564 over five years.

The biggest growth over that period was in work visas, with 196,410 people in New Zealand on work visas at the end of December last year, up 73% compared to five years earlier.

People on student visas were up 22% to 58,233 over the same period, and residence visas were almost unchanged at 170,322, up just 0.4%. Although as previously stated, that only includes those residents who have been in the country for up to five years.

The comment stream on this story is now closed.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

52 Comments

Immigrants welcome

Up
0

Of course immigrants are all welcome , who else is going to drive the Uber , work unsociable hours in Dairies and fuel stations , deliver our online purchases, or clean our offices , hotel rooms , schools and hospitals at midnight , pack supermarket shelves all night long ..............and not forgetting .......... make our McDonalds Burgers 24/7 ................all for very ,low wages

Up
0

Cost-saving is an important aspect of the immigration economy. It applies to white-collar jobs too...

Up
0

Don't forget the imported slaves working in those nail salons around every corner.

Inhaling acetone and filing back someones nails whilst holding back the tears.

Up
0

Whilst filling our hospitals, schools, roads, etc.

Up
0

.............. to turn around, head home and give the kiwi youth a chance.

Up
0

I’m flabbergasted at the exceedingly high level of work visa approvals which the majority I’m sure will apply for permanent residency
Most immigrants follow that course as I have myself in the past so I cannot see any reason to assume this government is controlling immigration much.
Heaven help you all driving on Auckland roads in 2020 you have my sympathy

Up
0

Thanks for the thorough report : )

Up
0

Unfortunately, the sheer volume of new immigrants will boost the demand for accommodation - and, inevitably, house prices.......

TTP

Up
0

High demand for converted garages with several bunks in them.

Up
0

There's a lovely old hen-house in the backyard where I live. Lot's of original character features and in a prime setting.

It's a little draughty, owing to chicken-wire cladding, but nonetheless a good home for a handyman on a tight budget.

TTP

Up
0

Probably the best way of doing it. A work visa is a lot less permanent than a residence visa, and someone with a work visa is less likely to apply for welfare should they find themselves unemployed.

They could always turn the tap off completely though!

Up
0

Pretty much nobody comes to NZ with a permanent resident visa without going through one or more work visas before that.

Up
0

Last time I looked youth unemployment rising. And we wonder why. Why give our kids a go, why give them an after school job or an apprenticeship eh! Nah f##k them, they can play on the phone, us boomers much rather have cheap submissive foreigners we can boot out when we feel like it.

Up
0

Precisely, and how can Boomers push the "kids spend all day on their Ipads/Phones" rhetoric if the kids can actually go out there and pick up after school jobs?

Up
0

A boomer should never tell a younger generation off for what they spend their money on, for it is the younger generation's spending that has made the boomers so successful

Up
0

Two underlying reason for this
1. a fast ageing society
2. NZ produced young generation either emigrated or mostly not fit for work

Up
0

Wisdom comes with age. I just wish we had more eldery politicians (except for the one that we do have). The media keep asking for diversity and saying it is essential for a successful business' management and its board so why not reserve 30% of MPs to the over 70?

Up
0

This used to be true in the old days when one was an elder in his/her forties, as with everything learning curves start flattening with a few honorable exceptions so age is not warranty of wisdom and it is hard for someone that age to look at long term plans into a future they won't feel attached to.

Up
0

That's nice for employers. Keep those wages low and profits high. Who cares about our own people, as long as the rich are getting richer its all good. Its good for house prices too so the 'haves' get even richer. Why should the 'haves' care about the local kiwi 'have nots'. This is what NZ has become. A greed focused country. Well Mr and Mrs Haves your day of reckoning has come in the form of a virus. The 'have nots' will remember how they were treated previously by YOU so you best be prepared as trouble may be coming your way.

Up
0

Slave revolt? You have to remember, on the whole, migrants will still be marginalized in NZ society to some degree. The cushy life (think some overpaid role in central and local govt where it's not really clear what outcomes are being achieved) is still pretty much captured by Anglo-Celt pakeha. Sure, Princess Leia (Ardern) and co will have some kind of quota system, but the competition will be fierce but the odds are stacked against migrants to get the spoils from that side of NZ life.

Up
0

But your name is foreign buyer? .... driving up house prices???

Up
0

Bring me my slaves

Up
0

OK, boomer

Up
0

We love immigrants dont we ?

Cheap labour
No need to train skills , they come trained ( mostly)
Keep wages down
Keep demand for houses ( and prices ) UP

Up
0

Also immigration makes GDP data look robust. You can hold up the report card on national TV to show the sheeple how well everything is ticking along.

Up
0

And if you measure unemployment the way you want to, you can still show almost full employment.

https://duganotherhole.home.blog/2019/07/15/unemployment-stats-are-a-my…

Up
0

This virus will stop people movement and cynically "Mrs Holyier than thow" will claim that she did it. She has done nothing to cut immigration numbers, and that after her main election promise was to cut numbers. We are not fools Jacinda. We are also not fooled by the greater of the two evils "the nationals". They have sold out to China and would open the floodgates even during a deadly virus just to please Xi. We need something different. The status quo is failing us big time. The answer will come soon and this virus is going to shake up the world like never before. If you own property or shares get rid ASAP or face ruin.

Up
0

The question is, where to put your money? If everyone buys gold now, when things stabilise everyone will try to sell their gold, pushing down its price (which is already inflated now by panic). People preparing for retirement should probably keep their investment properties to maintain the cash flow.
I agree that selling shares is a good idea (it was even better yesterday). Term deposits now are almost as bad as putting bank notes in a safe. Starting a business in this environment is financial suicide.
I think deflation is coming soon.

Up
0

"The question is, where to put your money?"

Would you like my bank account # ? I'll gladly accept it

Up
0

Business struggling, Yvil?

Up
0

Probably just re-leveraged up to buy more property and now has buyers regret. His motel bookings are probably suffering too, and things on that front are only going to get worse for the next few months at least with the airlines scaling back left right and centre.

Up
0

Aww man, Yvil thought he'd dodged a bullet from the latest round of litigation due to poorly designed leaky architectural housing. Figured 3 Star motels in South Canterbury would be a safe bet....

Up
0

Why would you want to sell your shares?

Up
0

Adding more and more people on temporary work Visa's just increases the potential volatility if we suffer a downturn. We have artificially bolstered GDP by importing people of working age, to boost spending and economic activity. If unemployment starts rising during a downturn, immigration will turn to emigration. That "boost" to GDP, house prices, rents and all the flow on impacts, will go into reverse and amplify the impacts of a downturn.

NZ is playing a dangerous game.

Up
0

There is a cost-saving aspect of NZ's immigration economy. And there is the skill/labour shortage aspect. They are intertwined.

Up
0

GDP is an awful measure of the general well-being and wealth of the people who live in the country. Obsession with pumping up the GDP numbers is precisely what lead to the many things that plague New Zealand (housing unaffordability, homelessness, growing inequality, environmental damage, insanely high immigration). People sleeping on Queen street couldn't care less about the GDP going negative for a year or two.

Up
0

Going by the last 10 years, we can see how prosperity and development have decoupled from GDP growth. Arguably the 'cost' aspect of headline growth at all cost has been a fall in prosperity.
Another headline figure that makes no sense absolutely is CPI. When our "intelligentsia" insist that rapidly rising cost of healthcare, insurance, education and housing can be offset by falling costs of TVs and clothing, making no worse off year-on-year, we know we've hit a critical divergence in perception of reality as a society.

Up
0

Another headline figure that makes no sense absolutely is CPI.

CPI is an artificial and misleading construct.

Up
0

And we use it to steer "inflation targeting" as a means of ensuring a robust economy..

Up
0

Welcome new renters and workers... Make yourself at home, if you can find one...
Otherwise just squeeze in with a few other workers, rent is payable weekly. This is very important!
Your employer might keep some of your minimum wage back.. this is perfectly normal so if you ever want
to get residency, please do not mention it to anybody.

Up
0

Will be interesting to see how the data might change in the next 6 months.
With tourism (and to a lesser extent hospo) hit hard, one would imagine there will be lower demand for temporary workers.
Especially in the tourist hotspots - Queenstown, Rotorua, Auckland.
Might help free up some rental accommodation.

Up
0

Could also see the opposite. How many "Tourists" are working under the table doing these jobs.

Up
0

im due for a holiday so looking forward to cheaper local rates , no way will i be getting on a plane overseas for awhile

Up
0

Good to see residence visas heading down as that is the main determinant of long term population growth. However, the work and student visa numbers show NZ for what it is; a country controlled by vested interests chasing the easiest dollar at the expense of long term productivity and prosperity. We need to stop subsidising many industries with cheap labour and allow them to shape up or shut down.

Up
0

We need to stop subsidising many industries with cheap labour and allow them to shape up or shut down.

Too bad that a deadly virus will likely make that happen in the short run instead of good leadership and common sense.

Up
0

i can not understand the universities , its like stuff NZ we are missing out on fees.
i am glad this government is putting and holding the bans in place.
they need to watch the cruise ships though, one infected person onboard and the ship becomes a petrie dish
https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/02/government-bans-trav…

Up
0

.......................BOOM!!!! There it is! Another failure of this government to protect its people because it sees money as more important. This countries economy has nowhere to go. Good luck if you sell luxury goods because you have just been thrown under the bus. Recession is coming.

Up
0

OK, why is it that Jacinda wants to take in foreign illegal boat migrants out of Australia but she doesn't want to take her own NZ citizens? What is she up to?

Up
0

Where is Boochani ?

Up
0

Yet another immigration article in the property section.

Up
0