Numbers narrate the migration story better
At a recent Conference of the New Zealand Association for Migration & Investment (NZAMI) in Auckland, Massey University Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of Humanities & Social Sciences Professor Spoonley and I were part of an open discussion on “Pathways to Residence: what is working and what is not.”
As I prepared my speech, I studied recent statistics in this area. The numbers I found were fascinating.
In the 2014-2015 financial year, 25,496 residence applications were approved, approximately 50,000 individuals were issued with New Zealand Residence over 44 categories. This figure did not meet the annual set target for residence approvals.
At a first glance, the Skilled Migrant Category trumped with 10,621 out of the 25,496 residence applications approved.
However, if we grouped the 44 residence categories into sub-categories, we find that Skill- Related Category residence approvals were less than half at 11,349 out of the 25,496.
Partnership-related residence approvals were 7900. The Family Parent, Dependent Child, Adult Child and Sibling approvals were 4254. These accounted for 12,154 trumping the Skill-Related Category.
The Refugee, including Protected Persons related residence approvals, were 199. The Women at Risk, including Victims of Domestic Violence, together with UNHCR Legal and Physical Protection Needs accounted for 372 approvals.
There were 413 approvals under the Employees of Business, Entrepreneurs Plus, Entrepreneur Category including Investor Category. This was a very small number despite getting a lot of attention on all fronts. This category is often referred to as the High Value Migrants.
The Religious Workers Category had 57 approvals, while Ministerial Direction and Residence Approvals were 214 and s61 residence approvals were 184.
Quotas 2014 saw under 378 approvals of Samoan nationals (under Pacific Access), while the Tuvaluan and Kiribati Categories received 24 and 14 residence approvals respectively. There were 419 residence approvals in the overall quota category. This a very small number when the current overall quota allocation in each given year is approximately 1750 places.
In the 2014-2015 financial year residence were granted to those from 191 different countries and some of the countries topping the list were, India (4626), China (4401), Great Britain (2788), Philippines (1821), Samoa (1415), Fiji (1060), South Africa (918), and USA (654).
Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visas decided over the last five years were India 18,457, Great Britain 14,875, Philippines 12,418, South Africa 8420, Fiji 5738, and USA 2786.
Therefore, the greatest numbers of new Residence coming into New Zealand over the last five-year period under this route are from India.
This undoubtedly flows on from the student graduate route which also feeds into various other residence pathways such as other skilled related, business migration, partnership or family route that sees India and China topping the 2014-2015 total Residence Approvals issued.
Over the years, most of these pathways have been tightened including the most debated ‘Retail Manager’ Category, with a rigid interpretation of ‘organise and control.’
The previous Family Policy centre of gravity test was benefiting Chinese applicants because of their One-Child Policy. This has now been changed to ‘High Earners’ focus.
There have also changes in Business Migration Policy, with the bar raised so as to prevent this being used as Residence pathway.
As it is often said, the story is always in the numbers, telling you about concerns, trends and attempts to change the trend.