New Zealand immigration figures down in August

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New Zealand immigration figures forAugust show that fewer migrants are migrating to the Pacific islandnation and more NewZealand citizens are leaving the country compared to the sametime last year.

Statistics New Zealand stated thatfor the year ending in August 2007, New Zealand had a net permanent andlong-term migration gain of 8,700 -- down 3,800 for the same timedperiod ending in August 2006.

Thenumber was below the national annual average of 12,200 calculated fromthe December years between 1990 and 2006. However, there was aconsiderable amount of variation in net migration during the seventeenyears since 1990.

Two net gain peaks were experiencedin April of 1996 (with a net migration of 30,200) and May of 2003 (witha net migration of 42,500). New Zealand experienced net outflows mainlyduring 1998-2001, with the highest net loss of 13,200 people during theFebruary 2001year.

Overall, since1998, arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens to the country have been onthe rise, peaking at approximately 75,000 during 2002-03. In contrast,New Zealand citizen departures have been on the rise since 2003, aftera sharp peak of approximately 63,000 departures during2000-01.

New Zealand has been actively promotingimmigration to the country through its points-based SkilledMigrant Category (SMC). Through the SMC, skilledimmigrants can receive a visa to come and find work in NewZealand.

In addition to recently raising thejob-hunting time from 6 to 9 months, the New Zealand governmentinstituted a number of changesto the SMC on 31 July 2007 including awarding more points forskilled experience in certain sectors and awarding more points forhaving qualifications from New Zealand institutions. The changes aredesigned to increase skilled immigration to thecountry.