WELLINGTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's annual net migration is dropping steadily, with far fewer migrant arrivals and departures in the eight months since COVID-19 border restrictions were imposed in March 2020, New Zealand's statistics department Stats NZ said on Thursday.
Overall, net migration in the year ended November 2020 is provisionally estimated at 52,400, based on 102,900 migrant arrivals and 50,500 migrant departures, Stats NZ said.
"Almost all the net migration gain in the November 2020 year occurred from December 2019 to March 2020, before border restrictions were imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said in a statement.
Latest estimates show annual net migration falling from a provisional peak of 95,500 in the year ending March 2020. This peak was due to many people who arrived in New Zealand in late-2019 and early-2020 being unable to, or choosing not to, return overseas and staying longer than usual, Islam said.
Border restrictions, disruptions to international travel, and capacity limits in managed isolation and quarantine facilities have monthly net migration estimates well below levels seen in previous years, he said.
In the eight months from April to November last year, net migration was provisionally estimated at 5,100. This was made up of a net gain of 11,200 New Zealand citizens, and a net loss of 6,100 non-New Zealand citizens, statistics showed.
"Historically, net migration gains have been dominated by non-New Zealand citizens, but since April 2020 this pattern has reversed, and New Zealand citizens are driving the small net gain," Islam said.
The net gain in the population from migration since border restrictions has averaged about 600 people a month. In the same eight months in 2019 the gain from migration averaged close to 6,000 a month, about 10 times higher, he said.
"With slowing net migration, New Zealand's population growth is lower than at any other time in the last seven years," he added.