24 Jun 2013

Strong monthly rise in immigration

10:05 pm on 24 June 2013

New Zealand has had its strongest monthly gain in immigration in more than three years.

Statistics New Zealand figures show there was a seasonally adjusted net gain of 1700 migrants in May - the highest since January 2010.

It brought the net gain for the year ended May to 6200 - a sharp turnaround from the net loss of 3700 people in the previous year.

The rise was mainly due to fewer New Zealanders departing for Australia and people moving to the country to work on post-earthquake rebuilding and repairs in Canterbury.

The only regions to experience net gains in migrants were Auckland, Canterbury and Otago.

Canterbury accounted for more than 40% of annual gain with 2600 people settling there, compared with its net loss of 2500 people the previous year.

The Canterbury Business Association says people from Britain, the Philippines and South Africa with construction backgrounds are the biggest groups arriving for work.

Economists say those who fled Christchurch after the quakes in 2010 and 2011 also appear to be returning home.

The Government is keen to give locals jobs first, but labour hire firm AWF says there is more than enough jobs.

The company says activity in Auckland has picked up and there is more pressure there than in Christchurch.