New Zealand published its latest immigration data showing the number of people that have moved to the country over the last year, but why are so many South Africans moving to New Zealand?

The statistics on who’s moving to New Zealand

StatsNZ classifies migrants as overseas residents who arrive in New Zealand and cumulatively spend 12 of a 16 months period in the country. The duration of stay is based on observed travel histories from linked arrival and departure records.

The stats showed that 149,000 migrants arrived in the period July 2018 to July 2019, which is an increase of around 8%.

New Zealand citizens were the largest group with 35,000 (± 500) arrivals for migrant arrivals in the July 2019 year.

Then the next largest groups were citizens from:

  • China – 19,100 (± 400)
  • India – 12,500 (± 200)
  • South Africa – 9,200 (± 200)
  • Australia – 8,800 (± 400)
  • Philippines – 8,100 (± 200).

The number of South Africans entering New Zealand keeps steadily increasing

StatsNZ’s data shows that the number of South Africans has steadily increased over the last few years.

In 2016/2017 period around 5,835 South Africans arrived in New Zealand, increasing slightly to 6,069 in the following year. In July 2019 this jumped to 9,175 – an increase of over 3,000 people.

South Africa20172018201918/19 Difference
Arrivals5 8356 0699 1753 106
Departures409399452-53
Net5 4265 6708 7223 052
Arrivals* Per Month486505764259

What are the reasons for South Africans moving to New Zealand?

South Africans choose to move to New Zealand for numerous reasons, most notably because its safe, child-friendly, and for more or better job opportunities.

Historically South Africans have entered New Zealand on residence and work visas, however, the data shows that there has also been an increase in student visa-arrivals in most recent years.

How many South Africans live in New Zealand?

A May 2018 report by American think tank company, Pew Research, estimated that there were around 60,000 South African migrants living in New Zealand at the end of 2017 – the fourth-highest migrant population living outside of South Africa.

According to Pew Research, New Zealand is only surpassed by the United Kingdom (210,000), Australia (190,000),  and the United States (100,000).

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