This is how many South Africans are moving to New Zealand every month

Statistics New Zealand has published immigration statistics for the year ending March 2019, detailing how many migrants are entering the island country each month.

StatsNZ classifies migrants as overseas residents who arrive in New Zealand and cumulatively spend 12 of the next 16 months in the country. The duration of stay is based on observed travel histories from linked arrival and departure records.

The data showed that 152,200 migrant arrived between March 2018 and March 2019, an increase of around 8%. When factoring in migrant departures (96,100), StatsNZ said that New Zealand saw an annual net migration gain of 56,100 people.

Unsurprisingly, local citizens were the largest group with 36,700 (± 500) arrivals over the course of the year.

The next largest groups were citizens of:

  • China – 18,200 (± 300)
  • India – 14,000 (± 200)
  • Australia – 8,400 (± 500)
  • South Africa – 7,900 (± 200)
  • Philippines – 7,800 (± 100)
  • United Kingdom – 7,800 (± 200).

South Africans heading for New Zealand

StatsNZ’s data shows that the number of South Africans has steadily increased over the last few years.

In 2016/2017 around 6,038 South Africans arrived in New Zealand, dropping to 5,842 in 2017/2018, In 2019 this jumped to 7,857 – an increase of over 2,000 people.

This means that approximately 655 South Africans migrated to New Zealand every month over the last year – or just over 20 people each day.

The numbers are slightly lower on a net basis, taking into account the South Africans in New Zealand who left the country.

Net South African migrations totalled 7,343 in 2019, the stats body said.

South Africa 2017 2018 2019 18/19 Difference
Arrivals* 6 038 5 842 7 857 2 015
Departures 357 471 514 43
Net 5 681 5 372 7 343 1 971
Arrivals* Per Month 503 487 655 168

South Africans choose to move to New Zealand for numerous reasons, most notably because its safe, is child-friendly, and for job opportunities.

Historically these South Africans have entered the country on residence and work visas, however, the data shows that there has also been an increase in student visa-arrivals in recent years.

A May 2018 report by American think tank, Pew Research, estimated that there are currently 60,000 South African migrants living in New Zealand at the end of 2017 – the fourth highest migrant population outside of South Africa.

According to Pew Research, New Zealand is only surpassed by the United Kingdom (210,000), Australia (190,000),  and the United States (100,000).


Read: New Zealand has a massive job shortage in this one area – and South Africans can help

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This is how many South Africans are moving to New Zealand every month