A new study shows how many immigrants with residence permits choose not to settle in New Zealand permanently.
Nearly a third of those who leave New Zealand do so within six months of getting their permanent residence permits.
Three quarters of those who left had not returned to New Zealand before the end of the study period December 2011.
Immigrants from Britain and China are most likely to return to their home country, while South Africans and Indians often head for Australia.
From 1998 - 2011 almost 50,000 people moved out of New Zealand less than six months after taking up residence.
A population geographer at AUT and University of Waikato, Richard Bedford, says it's an antiquated view that immigrants settle in another country and stay there forever.
The research found that while 162,000 overseas-born residentsleft New Zealand for more than six months, more than 400,000 remained.
Tayo Agunlejika, president of the Federation of Multicultural Councils, says some people do not feel accepted, are poorly paid or are put off by the weather.
Mr Agunlejika says it does not take skilled migrants longer than a few months to realise that they can earn more elsewhere, and that the information they have been given about New Zealand is not borne out by the reality of living there.