Net migration to NZ loses momentum due to border closures

Migration to New Zealand

Net migration to NZ loses momentum due to border closures

New Zealand saw its annual net migration drop since border restrictions were imposed in March 2020, said Stats NZ.

Overall, in 2020 up to the month of November, New Zealand saw 102,900 migrant arrivals and 50,500 migrant departures, culminating in a net migration gain of 52,400.

Speaking on the migration numbers, Stats NZ Population Indicators Manager Tehseen Islam said that almost all of the net migration gain occurred between December 2019 and March 2020, just before border restrictions were put in place in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Safety protocols including border closures, international travel restrictions and managed isolation in quarantine facilities in limited capacity were imposed to slow the spread of Covid-19, which severely stifled migrants travelling to New Zealand mid-2020 onwards.

In the eight months from April to November 2020, there were 77,600 arrivals to the country and 133,000 departures, compared to 4.44 million arrivals and 4.43 million departures in the same period in 2019.

Moreover, net migration to New Zealand was provisionally estimated at 5,100 between April to November 2020, with a net gain of 11,200 New Zealand citizens and a net loss of 6,100 non-New Zealand citizens.

This pattern of net migration between New Zealand citizens and non-citizens is a sharp U-turn from the country’s pre-pandemic migration numbers, when non-New Zealand citizens dominated the net migration gain.

Such a rapid slowing down of migration numbers has resulted in New Zealand’s population growth being the lowest in the last seven years and calls to fully resume skilled and business migration to New Zealand have gathered momentum in recent months.