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Exploring New Zealand's Changing Migration Patterns: Insights from Recent Data

New Zealand Migration

Exploring New Zealand's Changing Migration Patterns: Insights from Recent Data

Based on an article published by: NewsHub - August 16, 2023
In a recent release of data by Stats NZ on Monday, it has been revealed that New Zealanders are embarking on a trend of leaving the country in numbers not seen since 2013. However, this phenomenon hasn't halted the overall net migration increase, painting an interesting picture of migration dynamics.

Net Migration Gains & Losses

According to the stats, from June 2022 to June 2023, the country witnessed a provisional net migration gain of 86,800, marking a significant turnaround from the net migration loss of 17,600 reported in the previous 12 months. This surge brings the net migration numbers close to the peak experienced in the March 2020 year, when New Zealand saw its highest annual net migration gain of 91,700.

A notable driving force behind this upswing has been the influx of 121,600 non-New Zealand citizens, contributing positively to the migration figures. Nonetheless, this gain was counterbalanced by a staggering net migration loss of 34,800 among New Zealand citizens.

Tehseen Islam, the population indicators manager, highlighted the role of non-New Zealand citizens in driving the country's net migration gain in the June 2023 year. Islam noted that the past several months have seen an average net migration gain of around 12,000 non-New Zealand citizens each month, which is notably higher than historical standards.

Top Nationalities Migrating to NZ

Key contributors to this migration trend have been citizens from India, the Philippines, China, South Africa, and Fiji, who propelled the net migration gains throughout the June 2023 year. Interestingly, it's the younger demographic, those under 40 years old, that's fueling the net migration loss among New Zealanders.

a collage of passport departure stamp graphics

Breaking Down the Numbers

Young adults aged 18 to 30 constitute a significant proportion (17,500) of the provisional net migration loss in the year leading up to June. This same age group also experienced a net loss of 5,700 in the June 2019 year, contributing to the overall net migration loss of 5,600 among New Zealand citizens during that period.

Breaking down the numbers further, non-New Zealand citizens aged 18 to 40 accounted for a significant 65 percent (78,500) of the net migration gain within their demographic group in the June 2023 year. This is an increase from 58 percent (33,500) reported in the June 2019 year.

While these numbers might indicate an overall uptick in migration, it's crucial to note that the provisional net loss of New Zealand citizens is the most substantial net migration loss since April 2013. The highest recorded annual net migration loss among New Zealand citizens was in the February 2012 year, amounting to 44,400.


The scenario was different before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, with New Zealand usually facing an annual net migration loss among its citizens. In December 2022, approximately half of this net migration loss of New Zealand citizens was attributed to Australia.

Migration trends are influenced by a complex interplay of factors, including economic and labour market conditions relative to other countries, as well as immigration policies both in New Zealand and abroad.

The June 2023 year has set provisional annual records in various migration categories, including total migrant arrivals reaching 195,200, surpassing the previous high of 184,900 in the March 2020 year. Notably, arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens reached 168,900, contributing significantly to the net migration gain of 121,600 among non-New Zealand citizens – breaking the previous record of 80,400 in the March 2020 year.

Simultaneously, overseas visitor numbers, mainly tourists, have been on the rise. The count has jumped from 2.23 million in the June 2022 year to 2.54 million this year. This upswing can be largely attributed to increased arrivals from countries such as Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, India, China, Canada, and Germany.

Within New Zealand, resident traveller arrivals have surged to 2.21 million in the June 2023 year, showing a remarkable increase from the 1.83 million recorded in the June 2022 year. Among the notable contributors to this increase are travellers from Australia, Fiji, the United States, India, the United Kingdom, the Cook Islands, and Samoa.

In Conclusion

These trends point towards a dynamic and evolving migration landscape in New Zealand, shaped by a combination of global, economic, and policy-driven factors. As the world continues to change, so too does the movement of people across borders, bringing with it both challenges and opportunities for New Zealand.


Exploring New Zealand's Changing Migration Patterns: Insights from Recent Data
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