New Zealand has reported a net loss of migrants for the second year in a row as more residents decided to leave the country amid rising costs of living.
According to figures recently released by Stats NZ, the country’s official data agency, around 7,300 more people left the country in the year to March 2022 than those who chose to make a living in New Zealand.
Last year it recorded a net loss of 1,700 people, making it the lowest net migration since 2012. In 2020, the country saw a record net gain of 91,700.
“Migrant arrivals have fallen to mid-1980s levels,” said Tehseen Islam, Population Indicators Manager at Statistics New Zealand, blaming Covid-19-related travel and border restrictions for the record slump.
As the country struggles with high inflation of 6.9 percent and difficult economic conditions due to the high cost of living, New Zealanders are migrating abroad in droves.
The interim loss of residents is mostly caused by non-citizens, as about 33,300 left the border while only 23,900 arrived, resulting in a net loss of 9,400. During the same period, about 22,200 citizens returned to the country while 20,100 went abroad, resulting in a net gain of 2,100.
The increase in migration was particularly noticeable among young adults aged between 18 and 27, with around 1,800 citizens in this age group leaving the country. With an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, economists fear that the loss of workers could contribute to the country’s labor shortage.
“It’s a huge turnaround — and it’s the first time we’ve seen these negative numbers since the global financial crisis, the Christchurch earthquakes and Australia’s mining boom in the early 2010s,” Brad Oslen, chief economist and director of Infometrics, told The Guardian .
“The difficulty of finding labor is extreme across the country – you have a smaller working-age population than last year, at a time when everyone is desperate for labour. [It] only adds to the pressure on companies.”
Meanwhile, the opposition Act Party has criticized Labor for its Covid-19 policies.
“The hens of work have come home to settle. By shutting down the economy and borrowing $50 billion, they left us with a mountain of debt and soaring prices. Kiwis find it difficult to make ends meet and go abroad to have a better chance of getting on in life,” said party leader David Seymour.
“Now we’re seeing changes at the border, but it’s too little too late, we’ve already earned a reputation as a hermit kingdom overseas and are becoming less and less attractive as a tourist destination.”
In early May, New Zealand opened its borders to visitors for the first time since the pandemic began, as it moved away from its “zero Covid” policy, enforced through strict test-and-trace programs, and accepted that it was with the Spread became unsustainable of the highly infectious Delta and then Omicron variants.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last October that the strategy of keeping out or eradicating Covid completely would be “phased out” and subsequently began easing restrictions once around 80 per cent of the country’s five million people were fully vaccinated.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/australasia/why-young-people-are-leaving-new-zealand-in-their-droves-41663877.html Why young people are leaving New Zealand in droves