WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s immigration numbers have reached an all-time high, according to economists, helping employers fill jobs but also pressuring the housing market.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The net number of immigrants was 110,000 in the year ending in August, surpassing the previous high of 103,000 set a month earlier, according to data released Wednesday by Statistics New Zealand. This number represents a huge change, as more people left New Zealand than came into it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re talking very, very large figures for a small economy like ours,” Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr said.
Kerr said the surge likely reflects pent-up demand built up during the pandemic. He said this has come as a relief to employers, who were facing great difficulty in finding skilled workers to fill the vacant posts last year.
New Zealand’s unemployment rate remains relatively low at 3.6%.
But Kerr also cautioned that migrants would require a lot of resources, including thousands of homes — which are in short supply.
The data shows that the largest number of immigrants came from India, followed by the Philippines and China. The total number of immigrants reached a record 225,000 during the year, while the number leaving New Zealand also neared a record high of 115,000.
The figures include a net loss of approximately 43,000 New Zealand citizens, many of whom were lured to Australia by offers of better pay. Under reciprocity arrangements, New Zealanders and Australians can live and work in either country.
“Unfortunately, we lose trained, smart individuals,” Kerr said. “It’s something that concerns us.”
The figures were released three days before New Zealand’s general election, although immigration has not been a major campaign issue. Both main parties have focused on the rising cost of living, tax cuts and crime.
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