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

The number of people in New Zealand on work visas has declined by 40,000 since March last year

The number of people in New Zealand on work visas has declined by 40,000 since March last year

The number of people in New Zealand on work or student visas continues to slowly drift downwards.

According to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), there were 180,963 people in NZ on work visas at the end of July this year.

That's down by 39,744 (-18%) since the peak of 220,707 in March 2020.

The number of people on work visas has declined in every month but two since severe border restrictions were introduced in March last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The only months to have recorded increases since then were February and March this year, although the total increase over both months was just 810.

From April onwards the numbers began to steadily decline again by around 3000 a month.

The last time the number of people in the country on work visas was as low as it was at the end of July was at the beginning of 2019.

The number of overseas students in NZ has followed a similar trajectory.

The population of student visa holders has dropped from its peak of 86,100 in October 2019 to 50,598 at the end of July this year, a decline of 35,502 (-41%).

The graph below shows the monthly trend for both sets of numbers since the beginning of 2019.

MBIE's migration figures are provisional and subject to revision.

The comment stream on this story is now closed.

  • You can have articles like this delivered directly to your inbox via our free Property Newsletter. We send it out 3-5 times a week with all of our property-related news, including auction results, interest rate movements and market commentary and analysis. To start receiving them, go to our email sign up page, scroll down to option 6 to select the Property Newsletter, enter your email address and hit the Sign Me Up button.

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.

12 Comments

Still 180000 is a lot of people trend is still down but a new lockdown will throw a spanner in the works .

Up
0

Great to see it going down.
We continue to hear about staffing problems. But it not a staffing problem, it's a low wage problem.

Up
0

Low wages competing with welfare system to be correct.

Up
0

There is not a bigger rort in the immigration system as student to work visa. Remove the automatic work visa after the student visa and see how many genuine students there really are.

Up
0

It is much to do with lobbying effectiveness. Most MPs are graduates, many with little real life experience but plenty of academic and political experience so they are more responsive to the tertiary education lobby. Kiwi workers taking jobs in supermarkets, care homes, petrol stations and coffee outlets are simply too tired and too lacking in time to contact their MPs. So the most effective lobby groups are academics, the recently retired (myself), businesses willing make political donations.

Up
0

It depends on the student and the course. I know of Papua New Guineans who studied in NZ (Nursing and Aviation) who did not work because too busy studying and strong desire to return home asap. There are also some PhD's in STEM subjects who we would be wise to try to retain (most of the best go to California or Cambridge); these would be easy to identify because employers will be offering massive starting salaries and sponsorship.
Those are exceptions; I fear you are probably correct about the majority of foreign students. It would be worth while removing or severely restricting the work opportunities - there certainly will be some foreign students happy to be in NZ. just to live and study.

Up
0

"The Reserve Bank's (of Australia) own economics research department identified students, holiday makers and the partners of people brought into the country on skilled migrant visas as reasons for Australia’s sluggish wages growth ahead of the coronavirus pandemic.

RBA governor Phil Lowe ignited a public debate over immigration last month when he used a speech to argue the nation’s high levels of immigration were partly to blame for years of low wages growth while allowing businesses to avoid properly training their own staff."

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/students-holiday-visas-putti…

Up
0

Looks like education industry will be devastated.

The country is moving backwards.

Up
0

Education is a public service, nobody should consider it an "industry" and much less profit from it, that's main reason the quality of education is decreasing in NZ.

Up
0

The fringe education industry, ie low grade ESL and business ‘colleges’, is a rort. The providers are in the main owned by offshore entities, with low teaching and compliance standards, and in reality simply charging overseas students exorbitant amounts for work visas. We don’t need such ‘colleges’, so good riddance.

Up
0

The education sector would not need to rely on international students if it were funded properly.

Up
0