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India now main source of skilled migrants

Friday 15 Mar 2013 10:40 a.m.

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India has overtaken the United Kingdom to become the largest source of skilled migrants to New Zealand, according to the latest annual migration trends and outlook report.

The report, released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) on Friday, attributes most of the increase from India, of which 2145 applicants were approved, to former Indian international students who go on to gain temporary work then become permanent residents.

The total number of people approved for temporary work visas in 2011/12 was up two per cent on the previous year.

Temporary workers under the essential skills policy decreased slightly and the number approved for a resident visa remained similar to the previous year, though the number of skilled migrants fell 11 percent.

However, overall numbers are expected to increase as the Canterbury rebuild gets under way.

"The rebuild will increase the demand for specific skills, particularly in building professions and trades," MBIE migration research manager Sankar Ramasamy said.

"Demand for New Zealanders will be high, and training is under way to get young people in particular into jobs in Canterbury, but nonetheless we are likely to need more migrants if those skills cannot be readily met from within New Zealand."

China remains the largest source of international students (25 percent), followed by India (13 percent) and South Korea (10 percent).

Overall international student numbers fell seven percent in 2011/12.

Visitor arrivals increased six per cent on the previous year, though the Rugby World Cup contributed significantly to the rise.


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