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.
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