New Zealand’s immigration numbers
Numbers paint a clearer immigration picture
At a recent Conference of the New Zealand Association for Migration & Investment (NZAMI) in Auckland, Massey University Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of Humanities & Social Sciences, Professor Spoonley, and I were part of an open discussion on “Pathways to Residence: what is working and what is not.”
New Zealand’s immigration numbers are interesting
As I prepared my speech, I studied New Zealand’s immigration numbers and recent statistics. The numbers I found were fascinating.
In the 2014-2015 financial year, 25,496 residence applications were approved, approximately 50,000 individuals were issued with New Zealand residence over 44 categories. This figure did not meet the annual set target for residence approvals.
At a first glance, the Skilled Migrant Category led the way with 10,621 out of the 25,496 residence applications approved.
However, if we grouped the 44 residence categories into sub-categories, we find that less than half of the Skill-related Category residence applications were approved: 11,349 out of the 25,496.
7,900 partnership-related residence visas were approved. 4,254 residence visas in the Family Parent, Dependent Child, Adult Child and Sibling category were approved. Combined, these two categories accounted for 12,154 of approved residency applications, more then the number of visas approved in the Skill-Related Category.
The number of Refugee, including Protected Persons, related residence approvals were 199. The Women at Risk, including Victims of Domestic Violence, together with UNHCR Legal and Physical Protection Needs accounted for 372 visa approvals.
There were 413 approvals under the Employees of Business, Entrepreneurs Plus and Entrepreneur Category, including the Investor Category. This was a very small number, despite having received a lot of attention on all fronts. This category is often referred to as the High Value Migrants.
The Religious Workers Category had 57 approvals, while there were 214 Ministerial Direction and Residence Approvals and 184 s61 residence approvals.
Quotas 2014 saw under 378 approvals of residence visas to New Zealand for Samoan nationals (under Pacific Access), while the Tuvaluan and Kiribati Categories received 24 and 14 residence approvals respectively. There were 419 residence approvals in the overall quota category. This a very small number when the current overall quota allocation in each given year is approximately 1,750 places.
In the 2014-2015 financial year residence visas were granted to migrants from 191 different countries and some of the countries topping the list were India (4,626), China (4,401), Great Britain (2,788), Philippines (1,821), Samoa (1,415), Fiji (1,060), South Africa (918), and USA (654).
Skilled migrants to New Zealand
India and China topped the 2014-2015 list for the total number of Residence Visas issued.
Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visas over the last five years were awarded to migrants from India 18,457, Great Britain 14,875, Philippines 12,418, South Africa 8,420, Fiji 5738, and USA 2,786.
Looking at New Zealand’s immigration numbers over that five-year period showed the greatest numbers of new residents coming into New Zealand via this route were from India.
Many of these immigrants flow on from the student graduate route, which also feeds into various other residence pathways, such as other skilled related, business migration, partnership or family.
Tightening of immigration policies
Over the years, many of these pathways have been tightened, including the much debated ‘Retail Manager’ Category, with its rigid interpretation of ‘organise and control.’
The previous family policy advantaged Chinese residency applicants because of China’s One-Child Policy. The policy has sinced been changed to advantage ‘High Earners’.
There have also changes in Business Migration Policy, with the bar raised to prevent this being used as a pathway to residence.
As is often said, the story is always in the numbers. New Zealand’s immigration numbers highlight the concerns, trends and attempts to change the current immigration directions.