Departing migrants hit new record in April 2024: Stats NZ

Concerns over brain drain rise as Kiwi citizens leave country

Departing migrants hit new record in April 2024: Stats NZ

The number of departing migrants in New Zealand hit a new record high in the year ending in April 2024, according to preliminary data from Stats NZ, as experts grow even more concerned of a potential brain drain.

There were 130,600 migrant departures in the April 2024 year, up by around 1,900 individuals or 34%.

According to Stats NZ, this figure is "provisionally the highest on record for an annual period."

Among the departing migrants, New Zealand citizens made up the largest group, with 81,200 departures, Stats NZ said.

Source: Stats NZ

Reasons for departure

Gareth Kiernan, chief forecaster at economics consultancy Infometrics, attributed the growing departures to the backlog of people who had plans of travelling abroad that got delayed by the pandemic.

But he also noted that more Kiwis are likely attracted to transferring to Australia under the belief of higher salaries and lower cost of living, The Guardian reported.

Stats NZ data revealed that there were 42,200 migrant departures from New Zealand to Australia in the year ending September 2023.

It comes as New Zealand enters a recession and some Australian states initiate efforts to lure more Kiwis to their workforce.

"It's all very heavily in favour of people getting across the Tasman, because the grass looks a lot greener," Kiernan told The Guardian.

Concerns over brain drain

David Cooper, director of immigration firm Malcolm Pacific, is concerned that the departures in New Zealand could be worsening the country's skill shortage.

"The record numbers of Kiwis leaving are not the desperate and dateless. They're the young, skilled people," he told The Guardian.

"These are people who are well-qualified, with good skills. It's hard to attract the highly skilled people we need to replace the ones leaving."

Cooper's remarks add to the growing concerns of brain drain in New Zealand, an outcome that Social Development Minister Louise Upston previously confirmed is a "possibility."

"So, people who are in that set of circumstances — and I really feel for them — have to make some tough choices. For some, it may well mean that we lose a range of people, including some of our best and brightest," she previously said.

Recent articles & video

Employee wins interim reinstatement after Kmart dismissal

Court criticises University of Auckland's poor response to support harassed professor

New Zealand to establish new advisory group to address retail crimes

SHRM removes ‘equity’ from DEI program ‘to address flaws’

Most Read Articles

Domino's Pizza franchise owner given home detention for exploiting staff

Harassed university professor wins employment case

What 30 years of pay data tells us about NZ today