Migration Trends 2006/07
Permanent Residence Approvals
This section provides an overview of immigration trends since 1997/98 and describes the characteristics of those approved for residence in the period from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007. More detailed information on the characteristics of approvals in each residence stream is provided in subsequent sections of the report. Appendix I provides a complete breakdown of all residence approvals by residence stream and nationality.
Residence approvals by stream since 1997/98
In 2006/07, 46,964 people were approved for residence in 25,298 applications. Of these people, 28,140 were approved through the Skilled/Business Stream (60 percent of all individuals approved for residence), 14,705 through the Family Sponsored Stream (31 percent) and 4,119 through the International/Humanitarian Stream (9 percent).
Figure 4.1 shows the number of people approved for residence through the streams between 1997/98 and 2006/07 compared with the New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) planning level (formerly known as the New Zealand Immigration Programme).
Figure 4.1 People approved for residence compared with the NZRP planning level from 1997/98 to 2006/07*
* Policies prior to 2001/02 were grouped together to match the streamed approach to the NZRP.
|Financial year and NZRP stream||Limit||Approvals|
|Family Sponsored||13,500||+/- 1,500||14,809|
|2002/03 Total||45,000||+/- 5,000||48,538|
|Family Sponsored||13,500||+ 1,500||13,462|
|2003/04 Total||45,000||+ 5,000||39,017|
|Family Sponsored||13,500||+ 1,500||13,949|
|2004/05 Total||45,000||+ 5,000||48,815|
|Family Sponsored||13,500||+ 750||14,967|
|2005/06 Total||45,000||+ 6,500||51,236|
Residence application inflows
Residence application inflows totalled 28,140 in 2006/07, down from 30,389 in 2005/06. Application inflows through the Skilled categories were lower than in 2005/06, but increased over the second half of the year as a greater number of expressions of interest (EOI) were selected in the fortnightly draws (see Chapter 5). Business category application inflows remained relatively low.
Family Sponsored Stream inflows were higher overall than in 2005/06. There was a marked decrease in applications immediately following the November 2005 changes to the health requirements (see Appendix B) but inflows have picked up and remained steady since then. Most of the demand for places in this stream comes from partners of New Zealand citizens or residents, followed by parents.  The high demand for places in this stream has created a backlog of applications on hand. 
Inflows through the International/Humanitarian Stream were lower overall than in 2005/06, continuing a downward trend in recent years. In 2006/07, inflows were higher through the Pacific Access Category (PAC), but lower through the Samoan Quota. Inflows through the Special Zimbabwe Residence policy decreased after the closing date on 28 February 2007.
Figure 4.2 illustrates the inflow of residence applications over the last three financial years. The Skilled/Business Stream has been split into its broad categories (Skilled categories and Business categories).
Figure 4.2 Residence application inflows: 2004/05–2006/07
Figure 4.3 below shows the fluctuation in the number of residence applications on hand. Most of the fluctuation can be attributed to application inflows in the Skilled/Business Stream. The number of applications on hand in the Skilled/Business Stream fell significantly throughout 2003/04 (after the closure of the General Skills Category) and during the 12 months following the introduction of the SMC in December 2003.
Over the last 12 months, on hand numbers have increased in the Family Sponsored Stream and decreased in the International/Humanitarian Stream. The number of applications on hand in the Skilled/Business Stream fluctuated over the year but ended the year at a similar level to June 2006. The total number of applications on hand for all residence streams was 15,348 as at 30 June 2007.
Figure 4.3 Residence applications on hand: 2001/02–2006/07
Residence application source countries
The UK was the largest source country of residence applications in 2006/07 (21 percent), followed by China (17 percent) and India (9 percent). Total inflows were down slightly for most of the main source countries in 2006/07, particularly the UK. Figure 4.4 compares application inflows in 2005/06 and 2006/07 for the largest source countries.
Figure 4.4 Application inflows by nationality
The UK was the largest source of Skilled/Business Stream applications (28 percent), followed by China (19 percent), South Africa and India (8 percent each). China and the UK were the largest sources of Family Sponsored Stream applications (17 percent each), followed by India (11 percent). A large proportion of International/Humanitarian Stream applications came from Pacific nations, particularly Samoa (23 percent), Fiji (20 percent) and Tonga (13 percent). Figure 4.5 shows the proportion of applications from the main source countries through each of the residence streams in 2006/07.
Figure 4.5 Application inflows in 2006/07
Residence approvals by category
Figure 4.6 compares the proportions of people, by category, approved for residence in the last two financial years. The Skilled categories made up 57 percent of approvals in 2006/07. The distribution of approvals across the main residence category groups has been relatively similar in recent years, with the exception of the Business categories, where numbers have decreased over the last five years. Appendix I details all residence approvals by category for the period 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007.
Figure 4.6 Residence approvals by category
Location of residence approvals
In 2006/07, 77 percent of approved applications were made in New Zealand, up from 71 percent in 2005/06. The proportion of onshore applications has increased significantly in recent years, up from 48 percent in 2002/03 and 63 percent in 2003/04. The increase reflects the growing proportion of people living and working in New Zealand prior to applying for residence, and the immigration policies that support these transitions.  Seventy-eight percent of principal SMC applicants in 2006/07 were approved onshore, up from 71 percent in 2005/06. Table 4.2 provides a breakdown of onshore versus offshore residence approvals for all categories in 2006/07.
Number of people per approved application
There was an average of 1.9 people per approved residence application in 2006/07. This average is unchanged from 2005/06, but in general, average family sizes have decreased in recent years. The average family size in the Skilled/Business Stream has decreased in each of the last five years, from 2.7 people per application in 2001/02 to 2.3 in 2006/07.
The average family size in the Family Sponsored Stream has also decreased over the last five years, from 1.5 people per application in 2001/02 to 1.3 in 2006/07. International/Humanitarian Stream average family sizes have fluctuated in recent years and increased in 2006/07 to 2.7 people per application, up from 2.5 in 2005/06.
The average family size is higher for offshore applications than for those approved onshore. In 2006/07, the average family size for approved onshore applications was 1.7, compared to 2.2 for offshore applications. The average family size has implications for the NZRP because it impacts on the number of applications needed to meet the required number of approvals.
|Average family size||1.7||2.2||1.9|
Nationality of residence approvals
Figure 4.7 compares the nationalities of those approved for residence in the last two financial years. The UK is currently the largest source country of residence approvals (26 percent). The proportion from the UK has increased significantly in recent years (from 14 percent in 2002/03 to 29 percent in 2005/06) but decreased slightly in 2006/07 as numbers increased from India and the Philippines. China is the second largest source country (12 percent), followed by India (9 percent) and South Africa (8 percent). The decreasing number of Chinese Investor Category migrants in recent years continues to have an impact on the total number of Chinese residence approvals.
Figure 4.7 Comparison of residence approvals by largest source countries
Nationality by residence stream
Figure 4.8 shows the largest source countries of approvals through each of the three residence streams in 2006/07. The UK is the largest source country of Skilled/Business migrants (35 percent), followed by China (12 percent), South Africa (11 percent) and the Philippines (9 percent). Over the last twelve months, Skilled/Business approval numbers decreased from the UK, China and South Africa, but increased substantially from the Philippines to make it the fourth largest source country (2,431 people in 2006/07 compared to 872 in 2005/06).
The UK and China were the largest source countries in the Family Sponsored Stream with 17 percent of approvals each. India accounted for 16 percent of approvals, up from 11 percent in 2005/06. The largest source countries in this stream have remained the same for the last five financial years, although their relative proportions have fluctuated.
The two largest source countries in the International/Humanitarian Stream were Pacific nations, reflecting the high proportion of approvals in this stream coming through the Samoan Quota and the PAC. Samoa was the largest source country (27 percent), followed by Tonga (14 percent) and Fiji (11 percent). The high proportion of approvals from Zimbabwe (8 percent) was a result of the special residence policy for Zimbabweans, which came into effect in July 2005.  Appendix J provides a breakdown of all residence approvals in 2006/07 by nationality and stream.
Figure 4.8 Nationality of approvals through the residence streams in 2006/07
Age and gender of approvals
Figure 4.9 shows the proportion of principal and secondary applicants by age group for all people approved for residence in 2006/07. The average age of people approved for residence was 30 years old – 35 years old for principal applicants and 23 years old for secondary applicants. Two-thirds of principal applicants were aged 20–39 and 52 percent of secondary applicants were under 20.
Figure 4.9 Age of people approved for residence in 2006/07
Table 4.4 shows the age ranges of residence approvals by stream in 2006/07. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of people approved through the International/Humanitarian Stream were aged under 30, while the average age was 24 years old. Most Skilled/Business approvals were aged under 40 (80 percent), with an average age of 27 years old. The average age of Family Sponsored Stream migrants was 37 years old, with 30 percent aged 50 or over (the average age of Parent Category migrants was 60 years old).
|Age group||NZRP stream||Total|
|Skilled/ Business||Family Sponsored||International/ Humanitarian|
|50 and over||4%||30%||6%||12%|
Table 4.5 compares the ratio of females to males by residence stream and age for people approved for residence in 2006/07. Overall, there were 7 percent more females approved than males, and greater differences emerged within the residence streams. In the Skilled/Business Stream, males outnumbered females in all but the 20–29 age group. Conversely, females outnumbered males across all age groups over 19 years in the Family Sponsored Stream, with twice as many females than males in the 20–29 age group. Males outnumbered females in all age groups in the International/Humanitarian Stream. Appendix K provides a breakdown of the gender ratios by age and nationality for people granted residence in 2006/07.
|Age group||NZRP stream||Total|
|Skilled/ Business||Family Sponsored||International/ Humanitarian|
|50 and over||0.67||1.29||0.93||1.11|
- In 2006/07, 46,964 people were granted permanent residence in New Zealand – 60 percent through the Skilled/Business Stream, 31 percent through the Family Sponsored Stream and 9 percent through the International/Humanitarian Stream. The total number of applications was 25,298, with an average of 1.9 people per approved application.
- Application inflows were lower overall than in 2005/06, but inflows varied across residence streams and categories. Skilled flows were lower than in 2005/06, while those through the Family Sponsored Stream were higher. Inflows through the International/Humanitarian Stream were lower, continuing a downward trend in recent years.
- There were just over 15,300 applications on hand in the NZRP at the end of 2006/07. Within the NZRP, the Family Sponsored Stream has the largest number of applications waiting to be processed, but backlogs have remained relatively steady over the last three years.
- An increasing number of migrants live and work in New Zealand prior to gaining permanent residence. In 2006/07, 77 percent of approved applications were made onshore, up from 71 percent in 2005/06.
- The UK was the largest source country of migrants in 2006/07 – 26 percent of all residence approvals. China was the second largest (12 percent), followed by India (9 percent) and South Africa (8 percent). The Philippines continued to grow in significance as a migrant source country for New Zealand, increasing from 2 percent of residence approvals in 2005/06 to 6 percent in 2006/07.
- UK migrants accounted for 35 percent of the Skilled/Business Stream, followed by China (12 percent), South Africa (11 percent) and the Philippines (9 percent). Skilled migrant numbers from the Philippines have more than doubled over the last financial year.
- China and the UK were the largest source countries of Family Sponsored migrants (17 percent each), followed by India (16 percent, up from 11 percent in 2005/06). Samoa and Tonga were the largest source countries in the International/ Humanitarian Stream (27 percent and 14 percent respectively).
- The average age of people approved for residence was 30 years old – 35 for principal applicants and 23 for secondary applicants. Two-thirds of principal applicants were aged 20–39, while 52 percent of secondary applicants were under 20 years old.
- Seven percent more females than males were granted permanent residence in 2006/07, and there were gender differences across residence streams and categories. There were more males than females approved through the Skilled/Business Stream and the International/Humanitarian Stream. Forty-seven percent more females than males were approved through the Family Sponsored Stream.
 In 2006/07, 60 percent of applications for residence through the Family Sponsored Stream came from partners of New Zealand citizens and residents. A further 24 percent came through the Parent Category.
 An application is on hand if it has been accepted for processing but is not yet decided.
 These policies include the Long Term Business Visa, the Work to Residence policies and the Study to Work policies for foreign graduates.
 The Special Zimbabwe Residence policy was closed to new applications on 28 February 2007.