British and US Migrants Flock to New Zealand

The number of American and British residents choosing to live in far-flung New Zealand has risen sharply since the election of Donald Trump and the UK’s Brexit vote, according to new migration figures. The Financial Times investigates.

Net migration to New Zealand by US residents rose 65 per cent in 2017, with a 2127 net gain of permanent and long-term migrants in the year following the presidential election in November 2016.

Net migration by UK residents was 6371 in 2017, compared with 3614 in 2015 – the year before the referendum on leaving the UK in June 2016, according to annual figures released by Statistics New Zealand.

The upsurge in net migration from the two countries is based on a relatively small numbers of skilled migrants, with roughly 20,000 new migrants from the UK and US arriving in New Zealand in 2017. Those rises came amid a slight dip in overall net migration to New Zealand last year following record immigration the previous year.

“Migrants have been attracted by New Zealand’s strong economic run over recent years, with growth averaging 3-4 per cent,” said Satish Ranchhod, an economist at Westpac.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court justice, and comedian Billy Crystal both joked ahead of the 2016 election that they would consider moving to New Zealand if Trump won. New Zealand, a Commonwealth country with close business and family ties to the UK, has long been a popular destination for British expatriates.

Rod Drury, chief executive of Xero, one of New Zealand’s largest companies, said the number of job inquiries from UK and US-based technology workers had increased since both political events. He said many senior US technology owners had also purchased property in New Zealand, which they see as a haven.

“It’s very rare for me to meet a senior US venture capitalist who doesn’t own a property here. Since 9/11 a lot of Americans have invested in New Zealand as a bolthole. It has a great lifestyle and direct flights to the US,” Drury said.

Original article by Jamie Smyth, Financial Times, February 2, 2018.


Tags: Financial Times  Migration  Rod Drury  Xero