20 Nov 2008

NZ third favourite destination for British migrants

8:56 pm on 20 November 2008

New Zealand has overtaken France and the United States as the preferred destination for British migrants.

But migration figures for 2007 released by the United Kingdom's Office of National Statistics show Australia remains the favourite destination for Britons moving overseas.

In total, an estimated 340,000 Britons left the UK last year, nearly a third of them saying they had a job lined up. Some 40,000 emigrated to Australia.

About 12,000 British migrants came to New Zealand, which is now in third place behind another traditional favourite, Spain.

However, fewer British people are leaving than in previous years and more people are moving to the UK.

There were more than 500,000 immigrants to the UK in 2007, sparking a political row over the country's immigration controls.

British Immigration Minister Phil Woolas says the latest figures pre-date a huge shake-up in the immigration system, which includes a points-based system introduced in November.