Migration Trends Key Indicators Report: December 2011
This report summarises key indicators of migration trends for the 2011/12 financial year to date (1 July 2011 through 31 December 2011). The report’s main focus is on two areas: the New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) and temporary visa entry.
All data is sourced from the Department of Labour and, unless otherwise stated, is reported as a count of individual people rather than the number of applications. The purpose of this reporting is to show the number of people who enter New Zealand rather than the number of visas they were granted. In practice, counting individual people gives lower numbers for temporary workers and students than when reporting the number of applications decided, as individuals can make more than one application in a year.
Summary of key points
- 18,328 people were approved for residence in July-December 2011, compared with 18,313 for the same period in 2010. The United Kingdom remains the largest source country (15%), followed by China (14%) and India (12%).
- Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) approvals (8,402 people) accounted for 46% of all residence approvals in July-December 2011. The number of SMC approvals was down 14% (1,338 people fewer) from the same point last year.
- 91% of SMC principal migrants were approved with a job or job offer in skilled employment in July-December 2011 compared with 89% in July-December 2010.
- The number of people approved for a work visa for July-December 2011 increased by 4 percent from the same period in the previous year due to increases in the number of working holidaymakers and horticulture and viticulture seasonal workers.
- Essential Skills work approvals for July-December 2011 decreased by 4 percent from the same period in the previous year.
- In July-December 2011, 34,316 people were approved for a student visa, a 10 percent decrease from 38,286 in July-December 2010. The decrease is due in part to streamlining of the processing of applications, which has smoothed some processing across the year.
- Compared with the same time in the previous year, the Rugby World Cup led to an increase in visitor arrivals in July-December 2011, which were up 8 percent on the same period in 2010. Around 133,200 visitors arrived for the Rugby World Cup between July and October 2011.
New Zealand Residence Programme
The New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) target planning range is 135,000-150,000 permanent residence approvals over the three year period, 2011/12 to 2013/14.
In July-December 2011, 18,328 people were approved for residence. This is similar to the 18,313 approved in July-December 2010 but lower than the same time in 2009 (19,687 approvals). The decline rate for residence applications (15%) remained similar to the previous year (13%). Table 1 shows the breakdown of residence approvals by stream.
|Stream||July-Dec 2009||July-Dec 2010||July-Dec 2011|
|Uncapped Family stream||
|Capped Family stream||
The top source countries for residence approvals in July-December 2011 were the United Kingdom (15%), China (14%), India (12%), the Philippines (8%), Fiji (7%) and South Africa (6%).
Compared with the same point last year, residence approvals from India and China increased by 26 and 9 percent respectively, while South Africa decreased by 38%, the United Kingdom decreased by 7 percent, the Philippines decreased by 3 percent and Fiji did not change.
Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)
In July-December 2011, 8,402 people were approved for residence through the SMC compared with 9,740 in 2010 and 11,028 in 2009. The number of people applying through the SMC in July-December 2011 decreased by 9 percent compared to the same time in the previous year. The decrease reflects a flow-on effect from the prior decrease in Essential Skills workers due to the global recession. Essential Skills workers are a key source of future skilled residents.
Currently, the top source countries of SMC approvals are the United Kingdom (18%), India (16%), the Philippines (12%), Fiji (8%), and China and South Africa (7% each). SMC approvals from India increased from the same period last year by 20 percent. The increase from India is due to a growing number of former Indian international students who transition to temporary work and then to permanent residence. SMC approvals from South Africa have decreased over the last two years (from 2,068 in July-December 2009 to 1,329 in July-December 2010 and 613 in July-December 2011).
In July-December 2011, 91% of SMC principal applicants had a job or job offer (compared with 89% in July-December 2010) and 65% gained points for recognised work experience (compared with 73% in July-December 2010).
In July-December 2011, most SMC principal applicants were approved onshore (84%), of whom 98% had a job or job offer. Of the 16% approved offshore, 55% had a job or job offer. Figure 1 shows that the proportion of SMC approvals with a skilled job or job offer in the year to date 2011/12 compared to the 2010/11 financial year.
Figure 1: Proportion of SMC approvals with a skilled job or job offer for 2010/11 and 2011/12
The number of people approved for a work visa in July-December 2011 was 73,079, an increase of 4 percent from the 70,497 approvals for the same time in the previous year (Figure 2). Working holidaymakers increased by 2 percent, those approved a ‘study to work’ visa increased by 2 percent and horticulture and viticulture seasonal workers increased by 21 percent, while Essential Skills workers decreased by 4 percent.
Figure 2: Number of temporary workers (individuals) approved by month 2009/10 to 2011/12 year to date
The main source countries of temporary workers in July-December 2011 were the United Kingdom (13%), India (12%), China (9%), Germany (8%), the United States of America (6%) and the Philippines (5%). India had the largest absolute increase in temporary workers in July-December 2011 (1,525 people, 21%) due to increases in the ‘study to work’ visa, Essential Skills and the Graduate Work Experience visa.
Essential Skills workers
The demand for Essential Skills workers slowed from October 2008 with the onset of the global recession and its effect on the domestic economy. Essential Skills work approvals decreased by 4 percent in July-December 2011, compared with the same time in the previous year. The main source countries of Essential Skills workers in July-December 2011 were the United Kingdom (15%), the Philippines (13%), India (10%), Fiji and China (7% each).
Figure 3: Number of Essential Skills workers approved by month 2009/10 to 2011/12 year to date
In July-December 2011, 34,316 people were approved for a student visa, a 10 percent decrease from 38,286 in July-December 2010. The decrease is due in part to streamlining of the processing of applications, which has smoothed some processing across the year. Figure 4 shows the number of students approved per month from 2009/10 to the 2011/12 year to date.
Figure 4: Number of students approved by month 2009/10 to 2011/12 year to date
In July-December 2011 the largest source countries of students were China (28%), India (14%), South Korea (9%) and Saudi Arabia (5%).
Visitors (excluding Australians)
The number of visitor arrivals for July-December 2011 increased by 8 percent compared with the same time in the previous year (refer Figure 5). This increase is primarily a result of visitors arriving for the Rugby World Cup. The effect of the Rugby World Cup on visitor numbers will be higher as the data in Figure 5 excludes Australians.
Rugby World Cup arrivals were identified by a question on arrival cards. Around 133,200 visitors arrived for the Rugby World Cup between July-October 2011. The top source countries for Rugby World Cup arrivals were Australia, the United Kingdom and France. 
The main increase occurred in the month of September 2011 with 100,759 visitor arrivals, up from 64,999 for the same month in 2010. In October 2011, 100,715 visitors arrived - a 15 percent increase from the same month in 2010.
Figure 5: Number of visitor arrivals by month 2009/10 to 2011/12 year to date
The top source countries for visitor arrivals July-December 2011 were the United Kingdom (17%), the United States of America (13%), China (11%), France (7%) and Japan (5%). Compared with the same time in the previous year, there was an increase in visitors from the United Kingdom (14 percent increase), China (22 percent increase), and France (39 percent increase). The United States of America decreased (4 percent decrease), as did Japan (23 percent decrease).
 The Department of Labour also reports temporary work and student data as counts of applicants or applications, which are higher than the number of individuals reported here (for example, see the Immigration New Zealand website. The permanent residence statistics are uniform across the Department of Labour.
 Includes the Graduate Job Search and Practical Experience Post Study policies.
 Includes the following policies: Approved in Principle, Essential Skills, Essential Skills - Skill Level 1, General, and Specialist skills.
 Number of people issued a visitor visa on arrival in New Zealand. Australian citizens and permanent residents are issued a visa on arrival.
 Statistics New Zealand (2011). International Travel and Migration: October 2011.