The newly released annual New Zealand Migration Trends and Outlook report reveals that the country welcomed a record net gain of 58,300 migrants in the 2014/2015 migration year.
The report shows that 21,165 people were approved through the Skilled Migrant Category in this period, accounting for almost half of all residence approvals (49 per cent). This represented a 4 per cent increase on Skilled Migrant Category approvals from 2013/14. India was the largest source country of skilled migrants (21 per cent) followed by the Philippines (13 per cent) and the United Kingdom (11 per cent).
A further 8,922 people were approved for residence through the Partnership Category and 4,477 people were approved through the Parent Category. Family approvals made up 35 per cent of all residence approvals. China was the largest source country of residence approvals in the Parent Category (50 per cent) and slightly behind India in the Partnership Category (India 16 per cent and China 15 per cent).
In terms of temporary visas, a total of 170,814 people were granted a work visa, an increase of 10 per cent from 2013/14. Those approved to work in New Zealand under the Essential Skills policy rose by 8 per cent from 2013/14. This was the third year-on-year increase in Essential Skills workers since the global financial crisis, and it reflects the ongoing demand for labour in New Zealand.
Research shows migrants have better employment outcomes if they have New Zealand work experience. By 30th June 2015, 18 per cent of temporary workers had transitioned to residence three years after their first work visa.
A total of 84,856 international students were approved to study in New Zealand in 2015/15 – an increase of 16 per cent from 2013/14, the second year-on-year increase. China has remained the largest source country of international students (27 per cent) followed by India (23 per cent) and South Korea (six per cent).
International students have become an important source of skilled migrants for New Zealand in recent years. By 30th June 2015, 17 per cent of students had transitioned to residence five years after their first student visa. In 2014/15, 43 per cent of skilled principal migrants were former international students.