Kiwis Depart to Australia in Record Numbers

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New Zealand Immigration Boom Continues as Record Number Migrate in 2023 - Immigration NZ. Stats NZ reports a record net migration gain of 126,000 in 2023, almost reaching the all-time high of 134,400. Conversely, a record net migration loss of 47,000 Kiwis occurred, with 53% relocating to Australia. Young adults played a significant role in driving these migration patterns.

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New data from Stats NZ reveals that New Zealand's immigration boom shows no sign of slowing down, with a record number of individuals migrating to the country in 2023. The annual net migration gain in December 2023 reached an impressive 126,000, making it the largest gain for a calendar year. This figure is also in close proximity to the all-time high of 134,400 in October of the same year.

According to Tehseen Islam, the population indicators manager, the net migration gain in 2023 is equivalent to the population of the Taranaki region. However, amidst this influx of migrants, a new record was set for the annual net migration loss of 47,000 New Zealand citizens in 2023. This departure rate is significantly higher than the average annual loss of 26,600 from 2002 to 2013 and 4,000 from 2014 to 2019.

Of those citizens leaving New Zealand, 53% relocated to Australia. Islam further highlights that young adults are mainly driving migration into and out of the country. In 2023, migrants aged 18-44 made up 66% of the 226,900 non-New Zealand citizen arrivals, while individuals aged 18-30 accounted for 39% of the 74,800 New Zealand citizen departures.

To be more precise, the annual net migration gain in 2023 was comprised of a net gain of 173,000 non-New Zealand citizens and a net loss of 47,000 New Zealand citizens. This significant net migration gain of non-New Zealand citizens more than offset the record net migration loss of New Zealand citizens. On average, there was a net gain of 474 non-New Zealand citizens per day and a net migration loss of 129 New Zealand citizens per day in 2023.

The data also shows that the migration gain of non-New Zealand citizens in 2023 was just shy of the provisional record of 177,700 in October. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, net migration gains of non-New Zealand citizens averaged around 60,000 annually from 2014 to 2019. This surge was primarily driven by citizens from India, the Philippines, China, Fiji, and South Africa.

Michael Gordon, a senior economist at Westpac, suggests that it is increasingly likely that the peak of migration has been surpassed. He highlights that monthly net inflows significantly increased towards the end of 2022 after the border fully reopened, meaning that the annual rate would need to reach higher levels to see further growth.

In December 2023, the monthly net migration stood at 7,260, a slight increase from November but lower than the peaks observed earlier in the year.

Overall, while New Zealand continues to experience a substantial immigration boom, it is also facing the challenge of a significant number of citizens departing, mainly to Australia.

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Last modified on 15 February 2024 by
Michael Yoon
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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