Big increase in South Africans moving to New Zealand

Statistics New Zealand has published its latest immigration data showing the number of people that have moved to the country over the last year.

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 149,000 migrant arrived between July 2018 and July 2019, an increase of around 8%.

For migrant arrivals in the July 2019 year, New Zealand citizens were the largest group with 35,000 (± 500) arrivals.

The next largest groups were citizens of:

  • China – 19,100 (± 400)
  • India – 12,500 (± 200)
  • South Africa – 9,200 (± 200)
  • Australia – 8,800 (± 400)
  • Philippines – 8,100 (± 200).

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

In 2016/2017 around 5,835 South Africans arrived in New Zealand, increasing slightly to 6,069 in 2017/2018. In July 2019 this jumped to 9,175 – an increase of over 3,000 people.

South Africa 2017 2018 2019 18/19 Difference
Arrivals 5 835 6 069 9 175 3 106
Departures 409 399 452 -53
Net 5 426 5 670 8 722 3 052
Arrivals* Per Month 486 505 764 259

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: South Africa in talks to get visa-free access to New Zealand and other countries

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Big increase in South Africans moving to New Zealand