Population growth from migration is at its highest level since its peak three years ago, according to the latest estimates form Statistics New Zealand.
These show a net gain of 56,504 in the 12 months to the end of January, up 15.4% compared to the previous 12 months and the highest level for that period since the 12 months to January 2017, when there was a net gain of 61,564.
In the 12 months to January there was an estimated net loss of 6001 New Zealand citizens and a net gain of 62,505 non-New Zealand citizens.
The loss of NZ citizens was due to 40,225 New Zealanders leaving the country long term and 34,224 arriving back in the country after an extended stay overseas.
Conversely 111,755 non-New Zealand citizens arrived in the country long term, which was up 6.2% compared to a year earlier and the highest number for the 12 months to the end of January since Statistics NZ began collating the figures in their current format in 2002.
That number was reduced by the 49,250 non-New Zealander citizens who left the country long term over the same period, which was also at its highest levels since 2002, giving a net gain of 62,505 non-New Zealanders.
South Africa is now the leading source country for migrants, with 12,041 South African citizens arriving long term in the 12 months to the end of January while just 515 departed long term, giving a net gain of 11,526, more than any other country.
India was at the number two spot with 13,574 long term arrivals and 4878 long term departures, giving a net gain of 8696. The Philippines was at number three with a net gain of 7519.
China has dropped to number four, with 15,619 long trem arrivals, more than any other country, but that was significantly reduced by the long term departure of 10,965 Chinese citizens, giving a net gain of just 4654.
The net gain in Chinese citizens was down 34% in the 12 months to January compared to the previous 12 months and down 59% compared to the same period three years previously.
That decline in net migration of Chinese citizens was mainly driven by a significant increase in the number of Chinese departing this country long term ,which has risen steadily from 4346 in the 12 months to January 2015 to 10,965 in the 12 months to January this year, an increase of 152% over the last five years, while long term arrivals of Chinese citizens have been much more consistent over the same period.
Of the 145,979 people who arrived in this country long term in the 12 months to January, 41,166 were Australian and New Zealand citizens (who do not require visas), 35,375 were on work visas, 27,744 were on visitor visas, 27,554 were on student visas and 12,969 were on residence visas.
However Statistics NZ's migration figures for the year to January are provisional and could be subject to significant revisions, so should be treated with caution.
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