19 Sep 2008

Record numbers head for Australia

3:06 pm on 19 September 2008

The number of people leaving for Australia has hit its highest level in 19 years, with a net outflow of 33,300 migrants to Australia in the year to August.

Statistics New Zealand says it was the highest figure since the net outflow of 33,600 recorded in the February 1989 year.

Over 7,000 more people left for Australia this year compared to the same time last year.

Statistics New Zealand says the migrants were spread across age and occupation groups, with 40% of those leaving aged between 15 and 29.

Most leavers were service and sales workers, professionals and trade workers.

The number of people returning or moving permanently to New Zealand fell in August compared to the same month a year ago.

Statistics New Zealand figures show a seasonally adjusted gain of 400 migrants last month, slightly lower than the average since the start of the year.

Overall for the year there was a net gain of 4,900 migrants, a decrease of 44% on the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, the number of tourists rose less than 1.2% to 2.48 million for the August year.