NZ immigration returns to record level

The number of people coming to New Zealand to live, study and work has returned to a record high, but student numbers have fallen.

Official figures show 69,100 people settled here in the year to August, equalling the previous record set in June.

Arrivals set a new high for that period, of 125,000, of which returning New Zealanders accounted for a quarter and people on work visas about a third.

But the number of those on student visas – one of the key drivers of the migration boom – declined by 2.2 percent, with those from India tumbling by 23 percent.

Late last year, government agencies tightened visa rules after they discovered English-language requirements were being exploited, and this year Immigration New Zealand has been cracking down on the use of fake financial information in study visa applications.

ANZ Bank senior economist Phil Borkin said the figures showed net migrant inflows remained strong.