Written by Joanna Hughes

New Zealand saw record-breaking numbers for overseas visitor arrivals in August of 2015 while continuing to build on its 13-month streak of net gain in migrants, according to the latest report from Statistics New Zealand. Playing a major role in these figures? An influx of international students. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

Breaking Down Visitor Arrivals

According to the Statistics New Zealand monthly report on international travel and migration, overseas visitor arrivals to New Zealand numbered a staggering 202,900 in August of 2015 -- up from 188,900 in August of 2014. This seven percent increase in just one year represents the highest-ever August visitor total, and is consistent with the year’s overall visitor arrivals of 3.02 million -- New Zealand’s highest-ever annual totals.

Annual net gains of migrants in August, meanwhile, reached record-smashing highs of 60,300. The cause? The combined impact of an increase in arrivals and decrease in departures. While 117,900 migrants entered the country -- up a whopping 13 percent from the previous August -- only 57,600 departed, a five percent decrease from the prior year.

Students Leading the Charge

Of all the migrant visa types, student visas represented the largest change over the reported one-year period, having increased by 6,400. Meanwhile, work visas and arrivals by New Zealand and Australian citizens also increased but by smaller margins of 4,600 and 1,900, respectively. In total, 26,800 migrants arrived in New Zealand on student visas -- the majority from India and China, with 10,600 and 5,100 respectively.

Work visas also continued to climb, although not at such meteoric a rate. Again, India (12,700) and China (8,400) topped the list of overall migrant arrivals, with the Philippines (4,500) and the U.K. (3,800) trailing being to claim the third and fourth spots.

The influx of migrants not only represents a boon to New Zealand’s educational system and for student mobility in general, but is also credited with playing a critical role in helping to drive the country’s overall economy.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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