Australia is reporting that New Zealand has overtaken the United Kingdom as the largest source of permanent migrants to its country. The news follows a report stating that an increasing number of New Zealand citizens are leaving their country permanently.
The new publication, entitled 'Settler Arrivals 1996-97 to 2006-07 Australian States and Territories', showed that arrivals from New Zealand jumped to 23,906 in 2006-07 -- an increase from 19,033 the previous year.
"Our migration programme is focused on skilled migration to ensure that new arrivals can join the work force and integrate quickly into Australian society," said Australian Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.
According to Andrews, the number of UK migrants remained steady at 23,223 in 2006-07.
"Together, New Zealand and the United Kingdom accounted for 33.6 percent of all settler arrivals," he said.
Behind New Zealand and the UK, the next largest source countries were:
- India with 13,496 migrants arriving in 2006-07, up from 11,286 in 2005-06
- China with 12 009 migrants arriving in 2006-07, up from 10,581 in 2005-06
- The Philippines with 5561 migrants arriving in 2006-07, up from 4871 in 2005-06
Andrews said his government feels that it is "essential new migrants bring skills to contribute to the work force and a commitment to integrate into the community."