Migration Challenges in NZ: Auckland & South Island

Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
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The challenges of migration in New Zealand are becoming increasingly evident, with an influx of 100,000 migrants to Auckland and areas of the South Island facing declining populations. Immigration NZ must plan for the impact of migration on the country's infrastructure and resources, as Auckland is facing housing shortages and business owners like Gary are struggling to find and retain staff. It is crucial to find a balance and implement incentives, such as earning more points towards residency, for migrants willing to work in rural areas. Contact Immigration Lawyer NZ for any questions.

The city of Auckland in New Zealand is experiencing a surge in population, with an influx of 100,000 migrants. Auckland's population grew by 47,000 people in the year to June, with migration accounting for 78% of this increase. The main sectors that rely heavily on migrant workers to meet staff shortages and skill gaps include hospitality, primary industries, and aged care. However, concerns are growing that the level of migration is outpacing the country's ability to provide necessities such as healthcare, housing, and education.

The challenges of migration are not evenly distributed throughout the country. While Auckland is facing infrastructure struggles and a shortage of affordable housing, areas of the South Island are experiencing a declining population and difficulty finding staff. Migration is crucial to sustaining these areas, but the majority of migrants choose to settle in Auckland. This concentration of migrants in big cities exacerbates the challenges faced by these urban areas.

The struggle to find and retain staff is putting New Zealand's international reputation at risk, particularly as the busy summer season approaches. Business owners, like Gary in the South Island, are under immense pressure as they try to manage the demand with limited resources. The shortage of workers is affecting the level of service provided in various hospitality venues, potentially impacting the experience of overseas visitors to New Zealand.

In addition to the challenges faced by South Island businesses, Auckland is dealing with issues such as high rental prices, aging infrastructure, traffic problems, and housing shortages. While migrants tend to settle in big cities, when New Zealanders leave, they do so from all over the country. This means that smaller areas feel the loss of population more acutely, exacerbating the challenges they face.

To address these issues, experts like Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley and Infometrics chief economist Brad Olsen advocate for a proper immigration plan that takes into account the needs of rural areas and ensures adequate infrastructure. They propose bringing back incentives, such as earning more points towards residency, for migrants willing to live and work in smaller, rural parts of the country. This would help address staff shortages in these areas and support rural businesses.

While an immigration plan is needed, there is concern that the extreme uptick in migrants is putting pressure on infrastructure and fueling demand, which could hinder efforts to dampen inflation. The lack of long-term planning puts the country at risk of swinging between low and extremely high levels of immigration, both of which are unsustainable. It is crucial to find a balance and plan for the impact of migration on the country's infrastructure and resources.

In conclusion, the surge in migration to Auckland is putting pressure on the city's infrastructure and exacerbating issues such as housing shortages. Meanwhile, areas of the South Island are facing declining populations and struggling to find staff. Business owners are concerned about the impact of staff shortages on New Zealand's international reputation, especially as the busy summer season approaches. Experts emphasise the need for a proper immigration plan that considers the needs of rural areas and ensures adequate infrastructure. However, the extreme increase in migrants poses challenges related to infrastructure and inflation. It is important to find a balance and plan for the impact of migration on New Zealand.

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Last modified on 17 January 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.
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