A total of 23,430 fewer people came into New Zealand on work, residence or student visas in March compared to March last year

A total of 23,430 fewer people came into New Zealand on work, residence or student visas in March compared to March last year

There have been substantial drops in the number of people coming to New Zealand on work, student and residence visas and perhaps more surprisingly, in the numbers of visas being approved for those groups.

The latest visa data compiled by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (Immigration NZ sits under the MBIE umbrella) shows that up until February, the number of people entering the country on work or residence visas was about the same as it was in February last year, although the number of entries on student visas dropped sharply to 15,030 compared to 21,132 in February last year (-28.9%).

However as the country went into lockdown and border restrictions tightened in March, those numbers plummeted, with just 4299 student visa arrivals in March, down 31.2% on March last year, 20,016 residence visa arrivals (-42.3%) and 12,372 work visa arrivals (-35%).

That means that in March this year, 36,687 people arrived in this country on work, student or residence visas, which was 23,430 fewer (-39%) than in March last year.

The size of that decline will likely be even greater in April because the Level 4 restrictions will have been in place for even longer.

While border restrictions have had an obvious and immediate impact on arrivals, the longer term outlook is no better, with equally sharp downturns in visa approvals in March, indicating that fewer foreign citizens are intending to come to this country to study, work or live later in the year.

In March just 7716 student visas were approved by Immigration NZ, down 43.0% compared to March last year, while just 15,222 work visas were approved (-37.3%) and 2178 residence visas were approved (-31.2%) - refer to the table below.

While those reductions will have an obvious impact on the education sector, they will also bring little cheer to landlords and property investors, because they will cause both an immediate and ongoing reduction in the demand for accommodation at a time when rents and property values are already under downward pressure with many existing residents suffering sharp falls in income.

However, tenants who have held on to their jobs may be smiling because it may also help to relieve demand pressures for housing in Auckland and other centres popular with overseas students or migrant workers. And that could lead to declining rents and provide more choice for those looking for accommodation.

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Visa Approvals by Type
March 2020 compared to March 2019
  Work Student Residence
March 2019 24,264 13,539 3165
March 2020 15,222 7716 2178
Change -37.3% -43.0% -31.2%

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This was because of Corona Virus restriction in many countries specially China but this will be New Normal.

Going future : less students, less immigrstion, No tourist, Less retail sell, less housing sell........ Loss of Jobs, Loss of Business............. Survival will depends on how much and for how long dole/fiscal can each government can provide.

When worst is hit, will also witness change in social behaviour like one witnessed two women fighting over a roll of toilet paper...... Mental health and well being will be a Serious issue : Going Future.

Two women fighting over toilet paper- I'd like to have seen that. Is it on Youtube?

Note that the incident was from 6th March and this was by no means an isolated case. Massive changes in behaviour were happening before peoples governments instigated much of any restrictions on their domestic populations.


over the last month ive been concerned by issues the corona virus is presenting right now ,im more concerned as mentioned by richard1965 above how society will look in six months time if we cant get anywhere close to pre-corona virus society.

Unfortunately most people, including the government, can see no further than the present time, they can only see 9 CV deaths now. Anyone pointing at future problems is a heartless, selfish, money greedy, prick in the eye of the masses

Strongly suggest you watch what happens in Brazil, as you seem to need a lesson in how such actions as ours have meant that we DO only have 9 deaths, thus far.
Left to its own devices, this virus would cause almost irrevocable damage to the world's economy, so I reckon it will be easier to tackle that WITHOUT a pandemic to deal with at the same time and THAT is looking to the future. It is you who is not.

Sssssh PocketAces, don't ruin the fun of the Blame Everything On The Government Contingent. They need to project blame one someone for putting all their economic eggs in one basket.

And low... look how suddenly they have a found new philanthropic concern for public services, mental health, poverty and suicide rates, even though wealth inequality, poverty and mental health issues have been rising for years and they hadn't shown any concern or voter behaviour about it whatsoever... until something hit their own wallet but now suddenly, no honestly, their issue with the lockdown isn't their own wealth, it's their heartfelt concern for others!!!

Strongly suggest you compare us with a country similar to us i.e. Australia, not the dumpster fire that is Brazil. Brazil is a 3rd world country rife with corruption, drug trafficking and slum quality infrastructure. I mean the cops were executing the homeless as a part of the cleanup for the Rio Olympics. Apples with Oranges

Australia is not doing nothing? It is fairly well shut down, as we are, but they may struggle to eliminate, hope they do, as we can be a bubble of our own, but it is yet to be seen that they are succeeding.
I am suggesting that we watch and see how this thing goes uncontrolled.

Correct, and six months til election too far away to wait for things to decay.

Need action NOW.

Correct, and six months til election too far away to wait for things to decay.

Need action NOW.

Six months to the election is far to long to have this lot running the country if that is what you call it.
Business needs to be opened up.
The unfortunate deaths of 9 people were all very frail people.
The 6 deaths from the same rest home had very little care to keep them alive.
Of the 70,000 tests how many of these people that were of average health have died????
How many people are going to die because of the isolation and killing of businesses and relationships?

That makes no sense whatsoever.

There are 9 deaths, if there were no restrictions there would be more then 9 deaths, that's why you have restrictions, might sound a little complex to some I suppose. Have you heard of seat belts and life jackets, its preventative, if you didn't have these things, you would have more deaths. Would you be happy if it were your parents, kids, your wife getting Corona-virus. Its like playing Russian roulette, just so you guys can make money.

I had the biggest business meeting of my life cancelled, because if this, but I have a family. My wife and kids come first.

9 Deaths is an amazing and fantastic result, Ardern should be praised for her actions.

You are the NZ version of Trump.

Two girls, one roll.

Still makes a threesome

Lol basically indirect way of saying there will be a huge wave of Labour voters this year :) National is done for. Would not be surprised to see them poll below 35% :P

To paraphrase Mark Anthony, the good men do is quickly forgotten, but their evil lives on. Now, Labour hasn’t done any evil, but the economic pain will be top of mind come September, while Covid, or at least it’s severity, will have be old news. Remember, the greatest Englishman ever, Winston Churchill, saved England from defeat by Germany, possibly even saved the free world, but was dumped by voters in 1945. Now that’s gratitude for you. All National need to do is find a decent leader. Bill English, can you hear me...

Get real, Farmer is a 2x loser, do you want to make it 3.
Look at his easy ride, graduate, farmer and then Norah instructed him to get a year at treasury (thru her Clueless Stuffland / Wally electorate National connections) where he got the coffee in. As treasurer he refused to pay for anything which Labour are now picking up the slack for.
Prob better to have elected Norah. She was the clever one. Look at the son she pushed to FF president. He is on record as stating a wish that not a single drop of fresh water made it to the ocean. IQ of a sheep.

Smalltown, you have well and truly nailed it. Double dipton had no vision beyond the end of his nose. We never did see that list of SCF depositors bailed out by the taxpayer.


600 000 still in the country will slowly be let go and sent home as jobs dissappear and visas not renewed otherwise we will be bankrupt as a country. This is what the government is counting on to keep unemployment numbers low over next 2 years. But it means pilots stacking shelves and cabin crew maybe working in retirement villages ???


What do we do with the dwellings that those on work visas occupy? If your 600k number is true, and we work on a conservative 10 occupants per dwelling then that's a potential 60k dwellings. Combine this with 20k - 40k Air BnBs. Combine this with the highest number of building consents issued in the year to July 2019. At what stage of the construction phase are these consented builds at?


Cheaper rents, perhaps? If you factor in people getting made redundant and moving out of their current rentals into either shared flatting or with other family members, this is likely to reduce rental demand too.

RS, people don't need to move out of a rental because they're jobless, they need to move out when they're out of income, big difference. The question therefore becomes, when will government aid run dry?


The aid has profound limitations Yvil.
It's simply insufficient for many businesses, who obviously have a whole range of outgoings and little or no income.
And $585 pw is significantly less than someone earning the minimum wage and working 40-50 hrs would ordinarily earn.
I know of a significant number of people who have had their wages cut by 20-30%. Some will be able to squeeze by in their rentals, others will need to move back with family.

However, if the rent is practical while they're employed but not practical on government aid then it makes sense for them to start reducing their expenses sooner rather than later. If landlords can't be expected to have cash reserves to tide them over then how much less tenants for spending on the luxury of high rents?


As I said yesterday, Auckland CBD rents and prices will crash.


No wonder Burger King has liquidated itself, no more desperate third world immigrant students to exploit as their workforce...might be a few bottle shops up for sale shortly....

In the great depression two industries did well ,newspapers ,ie people looking for jobs ,now we have the internet and those stores that sold alcohol and now we have cheap illegal drugs also to compete within those market segments,so maybe we will see bottle shops go to the wall.

Wonder if the legalize recreational cannabis lobby will go quiet as job losses mount up and rates of depression and suicide increase? That would be a recipe for disaster legitimizing smoking cannabis to numb the pain.

Tax revenue over mental health. Let the Green Party decide.

Let's ban alcohol then.

We should legalise it and export it to the countries who have decriminalised it. It's another industry for NZ to make a name for itself.


Those people should be deported.

For behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people save rentiers and exploiters: the underpaid precariat of temporary immigrant workers, the bogus tertiary students, the AirBnB tourists cuckooing the rental housing shall all go to buggery, and the meek shall inherit the earth.

The meek might get jobs at petrol stations also if those "psuedo students" of Shane Jones get a strict review.
Can anyone remember the old days when petrol stations were manned by kiwis ?

1265 stations in NZ. 2 jobs per (when things relax). Where my calculator.

... and petrol stations are just the tip of the iceberg.


All factors (less immigration, higher unemployment, less international tourism, less confidence etc.) are conspiring to generate a significant fall in rents and in house prices.
I am a home owner, but I am convinced that this is actually good for the health of NZ society and economy in the longer term. What the RBNZ and the Government had never had the balls to do, is now happening: the big re-balance of the NZ economy from parasitic house speculation to the real economy.
I just hope that his housing price slump will not translate into a housing price crash, as this will not just hit house speculators, but also recent FHB's who bought into the Ponzi scheme myth of ever-increasing house prices promoted by self-interested and self-serving commentators.


I am a home owner but would be ok with prices halving so that kids / grandkids have some hope of establishing a home.
I would also be ok for a one-off scheme where recent FHB to be able to claim a tax deduction for some of the paper loss. It was only because of the year they were born that they incurred it.


I'm a home owner with two investment properties but totally agree with you. Getting property into the land of sanity is good news amongst so much really bad news. Assuming the slump hits close to bottom soon now there is a chance some of my adult children may get to buy their own home in their 30s (I bought mine in my 20s) and some of the others might move out of home into an affordable rental.
Sad it is taking Covid-19 to do what 20 years of goverment couldn't manage.

Lapun, no government specially in NZ by themselves will want the housing ponzi to stop as that is Rock Star Economy for them be it national or Labour so it had to be nature /Virus to intervene - Sad but True.

What has happened now will press the reset button and see how it unfolds in future but will get worse before getting better.

Lapun, Kids who have been working should be able to own their own house in their 20’s if they have worked and saved.
Parents should be able to assist them with equity in many cases, but they don’t choose to for some reason?
Owning can well be cheaper and more affordable than renting in a lot of places.

Why should housing be only affordable to people whose parents can afford to give them $100k or so? Will you adopt me please?

Jester, you use the equity in your own home rather than leave it doing nothing!M

Assuming every kiwi's parents own a house...

Yet in countries like Germany very few people actually own their own house. It’s a myth that couples should aspire to owning a house - it’s a WASP falsehood which Kiwis have bought into.

All the marketing is about couples getting keys moving into their new house - rather than their glee as old grey and beaten couples making their final mortgage payment 30 years down the line

Some kids come out of 3 - 5 years of tertiary study with a student loan as big as a house deposit only to find the industry they've chosen to be saturated, with starting wages not far ahead of someone working in retail. Try saving a house deposit with 13% of your pay going towards your tertiary education.

It doesn’t matter if you have student loans!
If you can service the loan then no problem whatsoever.
Any parent that owned their home for several years anywhere in NZ and aren’t property investors should be able to assist their kids into a home.
It is amazing how financially uneducated many people actually are!

It absolutely mattered when I had a student loan.

"but they don't choose to for some reason?" Do you not comprehend that other people come from very different backgrounds and situations? Not everyone has parents who are able, or willing, to help them into a home. Many kids come from dysfunctional and/or abusive families, where relying on their parents for anything, even a regular meal, is not possible. They are strapped with student loans, after having to rent during their study and again when they take up their first post grad position, which often pays very little in this country. Assuming that everyone has the same advantages, makes for a very unfair system.

Watched the latest DFA update this morning. There was a decent segment on Australian housing (as there usually is), but what surprised me was the surge in FHB activity over there the last 12-18 months. Everyone else appeared to be slowly down activity, but FHB were jumping in. If that's the same here then there could be rather a number of new entrants who will get a taste of negative equity - for who knows how long. This could be a Japan type scenario, with years of deflation ahead.

The stuff hits the fan when several of these FHBs turn delinquent due to joblessness and they or their banks are forced to sell these collateralised houses in droves, crashing prices across the countries.


Cheaper rents, cheaper petrol, lower immigration. This virus is working tirelessly for the working poor.

Assuming they keep their job...


Just remains to be seen whether the Reserve Bank and government will seek to destroy the value of pensioners' and young folks savings in order to keep property propped up.

Yep we already noticed a sharp drop in Chinese student intake in later January though at the time hadn't fully realized what it was due too, now we know it was down to the Corona virus. If NZ can eradicate this virus from our shores you'll see overseas student numbers improve dramatically. I would be good to see NZ become a safe haven for health reason rather than money.


I doubt that until a vaccine is available that we'll be letting large amounts of foreign students back. The cost of further lock downs as a result of outbreaks will be too expensive to manage.

Also in uncertain time many parents will not want to send their children away.

One thing is definite that tourism, hospitality and international student business has gone for a toss till 2021, if not more and domino effect of it will take away many other business along with job and business loss.

Still feel no one is able to fathom the carnage that will be faced by many countries, world over including NZ.

I agree. I think everyone is in a state of shock and the actual reality hasn't hit home yet, it will.

If the students are quarantined for two weeks, then it shouldn't be a problem?


That's a catch-22 situation: we can keep the virus at bay by stopping the flow of new migrants into the country, which won't be possible if we turn this into a sales pitch and bring in more international students.
Unfortunately, some politicians don't have the common sense to understand that simple idea. The Key government brought tens of thousands of low-skilled migrant with the promise of better wages and living standards than their home countries, and in that process damaged our socioeconomic condition, particularly around those 2 metrics.

Possibly, but there will not be a flood. The economic crisis that will come out of this will be worldwide and it will, of course, put the mockers on much of this activity

The BS student Industry was nothing more than a backdoor way to work in NZ. If there are no jobs here for the students they won’t be coming here.


There you go.. Much more sustainable numbers, long may it continue... only took a little virus to do it.
Immigration will be extending all work and student visas... but will there be the jobs?
What some mug pays for a house is none of my concern... But rents should come down by 50%


Winnie had better not try and take any credit for this. He failed big time! Let us all down.


That look when you realize the virus fulfilled all your election promises.

He prophetically said tough times were coming....

Assuming NZ's pandemic response is effective and the domestic economy opens up quicker than other economies, it will be interesting to see what % of the Kiwi diaspora returns back to NZ in the months and years ahead.

If all turns into mush, the economy will not be able to sustain all the population financially.
Ironically, we will have to do the opposite of what we have just been doing i.e. euthanizing the older age group instead of saving them from the virus.
Providentially, David Seymour's recently-enacted Euthanasia Act will enable the state to do this legally.
From then on, we will run things along the lines of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New world" where everybody is given a pre-determined life-span, say 65-years, and are then compassionately euthanized. Vets will be given this thankless task as they will have had the most experience of euthanasia, albeit with terminally-ill pet cats and other domestic animals. I don't think it would be initially socially acceptable to have abattoir workers, who currently kill cattle and sheep for the food market, dispatch humans, but, in the long run they could be incrementally introduced.

Absolute certainty about when you will depart is actually a really good planning tool for personal finances, instead of so much uncertainty and guesswork about how much you need to survive retirement and aged care. 65 does seem a little low, i would want to be able to retire at 65 and enjoy my pension cheques for a little while, maybe the limit should be set at 70, then the Govt can also plan precisely what to allow for each persons funding and how to extract that cost from the younger generation.

You've hit the nail on the head! We need the Seymour Bill to allow us all to decide 'when times up'.
We can all make the call as individuals and plan accordingly.
Good idea!

What does ""20,016 residence visa arrivals (-42.3%)"" mean? Is it non-citizen residents taking a foreign holiday or returning from a work trip? Or is it new permanent residents arriving? Or is it those on work visas gaining residency while not leaving NZ?
What matters to me is how many applications for permanent residency have been approved and how long were the truly exceptional immigrants delayed by our worst bureaucracy and how many low-paid desperate 3rd world applicants cheated to get in so they can benefit from our free education and medical services.

You've raised some great questions there.

Another big concern here is the 22.5k resident visa applications awaiting decision as of Feb 2020. That's 44.8k people (up from 21.5k a year ago), many of whom, unfortunately, may not have a case for permanency in NZ anymore.

Are you sure the word is "unfortunately "?

I can see Winnie taking the credit for the reduction in immigration in the next 6 months. The virus did us a favour he will claim. He told us the night he chose ''The New Zealand Labour Party'' that NZ was headed into tough times. Well, he was right about that too wasn't he. He's such a clever little fellow.

Every Politicians sideways, right/left, top/bottom - flip-flopping about this one - NZ First is the First one to pause and smile - the bug is enough to do the trick, exceeding any of their percentage expectation of 'reduction' - Brutal.

This shortage of workers seems to be a perennial problem. The government has been dishing out work visas over the years & yet the problem persists. What has happened to the work visa holders? Converted to residency ? And then , where are they ? Ditched NZ & crossed the Tasman ? If so, then work visa is merely a pathway to residency and a convenient stepping stone to greener pastures overseas. Perhaps its high time to disconnect work visas from residency. Or tighten up the conditions for conversion of work visa to residency . Otherwise NZ will forever be a transit, a stopover in the journey to residency & citizenship to other countries.Hey, NZ wake Up!!

The ultimate goal is always Aussie, if they can't get there directly the next alternative is to do your time in NZ get the paperwork then go to Oz and from what I hear Canada too. You are right we are just a transit lounge. Great economic strategy!

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