Migrant exodus bad news for New Zealand's housing - building industry

  • 22/05/2018

Migrants are heading back overseas - and this could be devastating for our building industry.

The New Zealand Building Federation (NZBF) says the industry is desperate for workers, as there are still lots of jobs in the industry to be filled.

However figures from Statistics NZ shows the number of non-New Zealand citizens leaving the country is up 23 percent from last year. Statistics also show a 14 percent fall in arrivals on residence visas, compared to last year.

NZBF CEO Bruce Kohn says there's a need for more builders in Auckland.

"There have been a range of predictions of shortfalls to two or three years out and these suggest a shortfall in excess of 50,000," he says.

"We do need that skilled labour available to us."

And Christchurch could be to blame for the increase in migrant workers leaving the country, as the recovery winds down.

"The Christchurch rebuild having come to an end, that may lead to some of those who came out specifically to work on connected projects are leaving after their period in the country," Mr Kohn says.

Mr Kohn says he hopes this isn't an ominous sign for the future.

"We are in need of skilled workers, there's no question," he says.

"So we hope this is not a bad portent for our labour - and skilled labour in particular - needs."