New Zealand welcomes skilled migrants

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse welcomes new figures out today showing an increasing number of skilled migrants coming to New Zealand as a sign of the country’s strong economic outlook.

The 14th annual Migration Trends and Outlook report shows that the number of Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) residence approvals increased by 12 per cent in the 2013/14 financial year after showing decreases for the previous four years.

More than 20,000 people were approved residence under the SMC last year and there was also an 18 per cent increase in the number of Essential Skills workers – the second consecutive increase since the start of the global financial crisis.

“These figures clearly show that New Zealand is a favoured destination for skilled migrants and that the Government’s policies are attracting the right people here,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“The figures suggest that New Zealand’s economic outlook is strong with the Canterbury rebuild bolstering the underlying recovery.

“It is also encouraging to see a 15 per cent increase in the number of international students approved to study in New Zealand. This is a big boost for the international education industry. In 2014, international education contributed $2.85 billion to the New Zealand economy. It is our fifth largest export industry and supports more than 30,000 jobs.

“International students help to build our country’s links with our trading partners and they enrich the communities in which they live and study.”

The Migration Trends Key Indicators report – December 2014, which is also published today, shows that the increase in skilled migrants and international students is continuing.

The number of SMC approvals between July and December last year was up six per cent from the same period in 2013 while there was a nine per cent rise in the number of Essential Skills workers approved. The number of international students approved to study was up 22 per cent.

“New Zealand is in an extremely competitive international market and these two reports show that more people are choosing to come here and take advantage of the country’s booming economy and everything we have to offer,” Mr Woodhouse says.