Thousands of South Africans moving to New Zealand according to latest report

south africa nz

migration, new zealand, skilled migrants, South Africa, visas,

1058 views

According to the latest report by Stats NZ, South African citizens were the fourth largest group of migrants to arrive in New Zealand over the period March 2022 – March 2023.

The net migration gain of 65,400 in the March 2023 year was made up of a net gain of 88,900 non-New Zealand citizens, and a net loss of 23,500 New Zealand citizens. Net migration is the difference between the number of migrant arrivals and migrant departures.

“For non-New Zealand citizens, 88,900 was provisionally a record annual net migration gain, exceeding the previous peak in the March 2020 year,” says Population Indicators Manager Tehseen Islam.

“The rebound of non-New Zealand citizen migration follows the progressive relaxation of COVID-19-related border restrictions from early 2022, as well as changes to immigration settings,” says Population Indicators Manager Tehseen Islam.

Citizens of India, Philippines, China, and South Africa drove net migration gains in the March 2023 year.

Estimated net migration, by selected citizenships, year ended March 2019 and 2023

Most migrants arrived on temporary visas

There were 133,500 migrant arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens in the March 2023 year. Of these, 63 percent arrived on work or visitor visas, and 14 percent on residence visas. Some migrants who arrive on temporary visas extend their visa, transition to other visa types, or gain permanent residency.

Estimated migrant arrivals by visa on arrival, rolling year ended, June 2004 – March 2023

Net migration loss of New Zealand citizens

There was a provisional net migration loss of 23,500 New Zealand citizens in the March 2023 year. This is the largest annual net migration loss of New Zealand citizens since the October 2013 year.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand usually had an annual net migration loss of New Zealand citizens. Annual net migration losses of New Zealand citizens peaked at 44,400 in the February 2012 year.

Strong migration numbers in the year ended April 2023 show that rebalance is working

The net migration gain of 72,3000 in the year ended April 2023 shows the Government’s immigration rebalance is striking the right balance as we tackle labour shortages, Immigration Minister Michael Wood said.

There was a net gain of 98,000 non-New Zealand citizens for year ended April 2023. Migrant arrivals were above the long-term average for April 2022-2018. Also, migration arrivals in the year to April 2023 marks six months of continued growth in net migration for New Zealand.

“We know many industries have been calling out for workers as the global labour shortage bites, and we want our immigration settings to be responsive to that, while still helping to deliver a more productive, high wage economy” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“Our immigration rebalance has lifted pay requirements for migrant workers to ensure they are treated fairly, and requires advertising for NZ workers before a migrant worker is sought. Today’s strong numbers show that these important protections have not been a barrier to recruiting migrant workers where we need them,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“The fact that migration arrivals in the year to 2023 were above the long term average continues and a recent OECD report showed New Zealand as the most attractive place for skilled workers is evidence that New Zealand remains an attractive destination for workers to come to,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“Our Green List offers a residency pathway that is appealing for workers in the jobs that we need the most. We’ve extended the number of jobs on the Green List as well as extending our working holiday scheme to support business to get the workers they need,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“Ultimately we want to train as many New Zealanders to fill labour shortages as possible, but in the short term it has been necessary to rely more on migrant workers than we otherwise would to plug workforce gaps,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“Our labour market remains strong. Recent Stats NZ data showed wages rose by 7.6 percent, ahead of inflation at 6.7 percent, and unemployment remains at a near record low of 3.4 percent,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“We will continue to closely monitor our immigration flows to ensure we have the right settings, but for now this is a positive sign that we are getting the workers our economy needs to thrive and grow,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

Source: © Crown copyright. All material Stats NZ produces is protected by Crown copyright.

Source: © Crown copyright. All material Stats NZ produces is protected by Crown copyright.

Are you a South African Engineer moving to New Zealand?

At ConsultANZ Civil Engineering, Construction, Surveying Recruitment we are placing record levels of South African Civil Engineers and Construction Professionals in a variety of roles across NZ.

If you are thinking of making a move with your family for a better lifestyle and opportunities, connect with our Recruiters on LinkedIn or send your CV to [email protected]

If you are looking to grow your team and would like to access our SA talent pool, get in touch with our Director Peter Laver on LinkedIn.

To find out more about moving from SA to New Zealand, read the following blog posts:

South Africa vs New Zealand – A guide for Engineers

South African Engineers can help rebuild New Zealand after Cyclone Gabrielle

^ Back to top