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NZ annual net migration rises to new record as Indian student numbers swell

26 Feb 15

New Zealand's annual net migration rose to another record in January as fewer locals departed for Australia, while Indian student numbers continued to bolster the influx of new arrivals.

The country's net inflow of new migrants rose to a seasonally adjusted 5,500 in January from 4,100 in December, and ending two months of declines. The annual net inflow more than doubled to 53,800 in the 12 months ended Jan. 31 from the same period a year earlier, the six month in a row where the annual record was broken. Annual departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia more than halved to 23,100 in the period, while almost 12,000 Indians were long-term or permanent arrivals for a net gain to New Zealand of 10,800.

New Zealand's burgeoning economy has lured kiwis back from Australia where a weaker economic outlook eats into what's been a comparatively higher living standard for years, while at the same time, the government has made a concerted push to attract international students to help widen the country's export of education services.

About 56,800 arrivals stated education as their primary purpose for coming to New Zealand, up 8.2 percent from a year earlier, and outpacing gains for other reasons given.

New Zealand's strong net migration has helped stoke economic activity, pushing up demand for housing while also reducing pressure on wage inflation by boosting the supply of labour.

Separately, the number of short term visitors to New Zealand rose 3 percent to 302,400 in January from the same month a year earlier, led by an increased number of Australians, Koreans and Americans. The annual short-term visitors rose 4 percent to 2.87 million, with increases in visitors from Australia and the US leading gains.

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