The number of people moving to New Zealand has set another new record with the country seeing 126,100 arriving in the year to October 2016, official data shows.
It means that the country is even more popular with immigrants moving to live and work with October’s record surpassing the previous record set in September.
‘The record annual net gain in migration was driven by the increase in migrant arrivals,’ said Statistics New Zealand population statistics manager Jo-Anne Skinner. She added that at the same time migrant departures decreased, adding to the high net gain.
Migrant arrivals numbered 126,100 in the October 2016 year and migrant departures were 55,800, leaving a new record of 70,300 in actual people moving to the country.
Visitors also set a new record. There were 260,200 in October 2016, up 14% from October 2015. In the October 2016 year visitor arrivals hit a record 3.42 million, up 12% from October 2015.
Meanwhile, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse announced an increase in the number of seasonal workers who can come to New Zealand to work in the horticulture and viticulture industry under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.
The current cap will be increased by 1,000 from 9,500 to 10,500 RSE workers for the 2016/2017 season.
Woodhouse said that the horticulture and viticulture industry is New Zealand’s fourth largest export industry, producing almost $5 billion in exports and pointed out that the industry has forecast an additional 2,500 workers will be needed for the upcoming season.
‘The increase of 1,000 RSE workers shows the Government is committed to enabling the industry to continue to grow and maximise export returns, while ensuring jobs aren’t being taken from New Zealanders,’ he added.
Ministers say the increase has been made on the understanding that the industry continues to maximise opportunities for New Zealanders, particularly in regions with relatively high unemployment.
Tolley said that significant progress has already been made on employing New Zealanders in the industry. ‘Around 500 beneficiaries have already taken part in the New Zealand Seasonal Work Scheme and a significant number have not gone back on a benefit,’ she explained.
She pointed out that in 2015, MSD placed over 4,000 people in the agriculture industry across New Zealand, which includes the horticulture and viticulture industries. HortNZ figures show that this sector employs around 60,000 people annually.
‘To build on this, the Ministry of Social Development is developing new initiatives with employers and other stakeholders to further increase the number of New Zealanders working in the industry,’ she added.