It appears that the recent earthquake in New Zealand coupled with the global economic crisis is beginning to have an impact on the number of people relocating there, if new statistics are to be believed.
Once an extremely popular destination for expats who were seeking life in a safe, clean and quiet environment, New Zealand was often quoted as being one of the most desirable places in the world in which to live.
However, according to figures that were recently released by the New Zealand Department of Labour, there was a 32,359 reduction in the number of residency permits that were issued between the first nine months of the current financial year when compared with the same period the previous year. At present the Ministry of Labor have granted 28,675 resident permits, yet have a target of between 45,000 and 50,000 for the full financial year.
The report issued by the Department of Labour attributed the reduction in applications for residency to the Christchurch earthquake, which had devastating effects on the city of Christchurch in February of this year: “[The Christchurch earthquake] has had an impact on migration trends in the current financial year. The immediate impact of the earthquake was mainly seen in reduced visitor arrivals. However, the full impact of the earthquake on migration flows may emerge in the coming months,” it said.
In addition the report also indicated that the recent economic crisis has impacted the number of skilled workers who are taking positions overseas: “Like other OECD countries, New Zealand has not been immune to the decrease in skilled migration,” the report said.
“Skilled people who might be interested in migrating are less willing and able to give up a job, sell their house and move to a new life overseas. Additionally, fewer skilled job offers have been available in New Zealand, although opportunities are expected to increase once the economy recovers and the rebuild of Christchurch gains momentum.”
Speaking to UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Catherine Burnett-Wake from Money Matters, a migration agency, commented:
“It’s impossible to measure the effect of the recent disaster in New Zealand on prospective immigrants, but it is the sort of thing that concerns people. With dramatic scenes of devastation on the television, some people are bound to be concerned that there could be a potential downside to moving to New Zealand, whatever the real benefits might be.
“However, the financial situation in countries that have historically been a major source of migrants, such as the UK is undoubtedly a factor. With less cash available and the European currencies devalued of late, making an expensive move overseas can be less appealing. Traditionally UK migrants have seen a gain in the buying power of their pounds on migrating, but this is less true now.”
If you’re considering moving to New Zealand and are looking for some practical help and advice, please see our expat guide to living in Auckland. It contains a wealth of information and insights into life in this amazing city and, because it’s written by the expats who actually live there, you can be assured that you are getting advice from people who really are in the know.