With a flood of Kiwis returning from Australia looking for jobs, migration for the year to July has nearly hit 60,000 people.
Latest figures from Statistics NZ show in the last 12 months about 117,000 people moved to New Zealand, while 57,500 departed.
Of those arriving, 24,300 were from Australia, with about two-thirds of those being Kiwis coming back home.
That puts the figure of people leaving to Australia at its lowest since 1991, with net migration across the Tasman down to 800 for the year, compared to a record of 40,000 people heading to Australia just three years ago.
New Zealanders have been steadily moving back since the Lucky Country's economy began slipping in 2014 with the end of the mining boom.
Meanwhile, migrants on student visas were up by 7300 to 26,700 with about 15,000 of those coming from India or China.
About half of all migrants who gave an address said they were moving to the Auckland region, Statistics NZ said.
NZ First leader Winston Peters says the number of foreign students is up because immigration agents tell them they're going to be able to use their visas as a swipe card to permanent residency.
"National conveniently gave more working rights to foreign students when the industry came begging," he said.
"That's why supermarkets, service stations and the hospitality industry now have so many foreign employees. These low skilled jobs are what our students and lowly-paid Kiwis rely on."
Where people came from:
24,300 from Australia - two-thirds were New Zealanders
13,800 from India - three-quarters were students
13,500 from Britain - mostly NZ citizens
10,400 from China - half were students