Talk Money with Tony Field – February 2, 2016

Talk Money with Tony Field – February 2, 2016

Remember the brain drain? For decades New Zealand fretted about the high numbers of people heading to Australia to live.

Not these days though.

Last year there was a net inflow of 769 people moving from Australia to New Zealand.

That might not sound like a big number. But back in 2012 there was a net outflow to Australia of almost 39,000 people.

Those were the days when Australia’s mining sector was booming and it seemed it really was the 'lucky country'.

New Zealand is now looking much more attractive. That's particularly the case if you are returning home to a network of family and friends.

Immigration to New Zealand from around the world is also booming. There was a net inflow of 64,930 migrants last year - 121,000 people arrived and 57,000 departed.

Of those people, 102,406 of the arrivals and 47,027 of those who departed were in the working-age category.

The migrants included New Zealanders, Australians and a mix of people from other nations, who arrived here on student and work permits.

Migrants on student visas rose 22 percent to 27,900 last year. The largest student group was from India, followed by China and the Philippines.

Migrants on working visas rose 13.5 percent to 37,800. Many of them were from European nations.

There was an increase in South Africans arriving on either work or student visas.

The influx does put pressure on the housing market. There is more demand for rental properties near to tertiary institutions and there is more competition to buy homes.

Economists say the migration boom can also dampen wage increases because employers have more people to choose from. One factor driving the boom in student numbers is a law change that means overseas students can now seek paid employment during term time.

But overseas workers do add to the Government’s tax take. They also contribute something that is hard to put a price on – cultural diversity.