The number of residence visas being approved hit a 10 year low in the 12 months to September while the number of work visas hit a 10 year high.

Figures compiled by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (Immigration NZ is part of MBIE) show that 34,992 residence visas were approved in the 12 months ended September this year, the lowest number for that period since MBIE began compiling the figures in 2009.

The figures show that 45,057 residence visas were approved in the 12 months to September 2010 and the numbers then declined steadily over the following three years before rising sharply to hit a peak of 51,723 in 2016, before falling away again over the following three years (see graph below).

That means the 34,992 approvals in the year to September were down 10,065 (-22.3%) compared to the same period of 2010 and down by 16,731 (-32.3%) compared to the 2016 peak.

The largest number of residence approvals by nationality were people from India at 4776, followed closely by China 4767, South Africa 3957,the UK 3378, Philippines 3039, Samoa 2145, the USA 1263 and Fiji 1083 (all 12 months to September).

However, while the number of residence visas being approved has been steadily declining, the number of work visas has been steadily rising and hit a 10 year high of 246,705 in the 12 months to September, which was up 80,187 (+48.2%) compared to the same period of 2010 (see graph below).

While residence and work visa approvals have shown strong trends up or down, student visa approvals have
remained largely consistent at around 100,000 a year for the last 10 years.

In the 12 months to September this year 105,450 student visas were approved, just below the 10 year peak of 106,197 approved in same period of 2017.

(Source MBIE)

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