20 Mar 2015

Migrant numbers keep growing

1:56 pm on 20 March 2015

The growing economy is continuing to attract foreigners and keep New Zealanders at home.

Official figures show a seasonally adjusted net gain of 4,800 in February, with the largest number continuing to come from India on student visas.

On an annual basis, the number of arrivals over departures hit a new record high of 55,100, the seventh month in a row that the annual record has been broken.

Auckland International Airport

Auckland International Airport Photo: RNZ

Migrant arrivals also reached a record high - more than 112,500 people - while the number of departures - 57,500 - is at its lowest level since November 2003.

Senior economist at ANZ Bank, Philip Borkin, said it was hard to know when migration will peak.

The timing of the Chinese New Year also boosted the number of visitors last month, with arrivals jumping 14 percent to 343500 people compared with the same period a year earlier. The number of tourists from China nearly doubled.

For the year, visitor arrivals rose 5 percent to a new record high of 2.91 million people, led by travellers from China, followed by Australia and the United States.