New Zealand’s Importance As A Top Immigrant Destination Is Up, Says Cost Of Living Survey

By @diplomatist10 on
View Of Auckland City From Sky Tower
A general view of Auckland City from atop the Sky Tower September 28, 2011. Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

New Zealand’s attraction as a global destination for immigration is up, more so in the wake of the strengthening of the U.S. dollar. This was revealed in Mercer's annual Cost of Living survey, whose findings seems to be looking right as the Government’s official figures also revealed that the annual growth in immigration that ended in the month of May 2015 has been a record.

Cost Of Business

The Mercer survey studied the impact of changes in the currency exchange rates with respect to the U.S. dollar. It also looked at the effects on the cost of doing business globally as a corollary of the cost of living index on various global cities. The survey looks at the cost of living from the point of view of expatriates and highlighted the fact that weakening of New Zealand dollar has made Auckland and Wellington shed their high ranks in cost of living.

According to the survey, Auckland is New Zealand's most expensive city for expatriates, and said the cost of living fell by three places in Auckland and Wellington dropped it by four places. However, there were diverse views on the lure of New Zealand as a top destination for immigration, with some noting that money was the big factor while others dissenting to argue that life style is the main reason.

"Movement in the New Zealand dollar can create a competitive advantage for New Zealand organisations in terms of attracting key global talent," said Mercer's Global Mobility Practice Leader, Lorraine Jennings.  For employers in New Zealand, the falling rankings of its most expensive cities are an opportunity to attract global workforce and talent.  “A weaker New Zealand dollar meant more cost efficiency for multinational companies to send their talent to Kiwi shores,” she said. International compensation is an increasing concern for many multinational companies operating in different economic, social and political contexts. Joanna Rapley from Alpha Recruitment noted that people moving to New Zealand has many reasons and they include lifestyle also, particularly those from Britain and South Africa.

"They'll bring their children here, to bring them up or they'll come here in their latter years for their retirement," she said and added that they are not coming to New Zealand solely for making money and it does not seem to be a key driver.

Lure Of Lifestyle

Walter Stone from Eagle Migration agreed that lifestyle as a main attraction for immigrants, pointing out that salaries are much higher in Australia. While cost of living is an important aspect, currency changes are not such a big a concern for most of his clients.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's immigration data for May showed a significant spurt and pointed towards changes in trans-Tasman population growth. According to Statistics New Zealand, the figures are showing an increase in the annual net migration for the year that ended in May at nearly 58,000, compared with forecasts of 57,400. At the micro level, monthly net migration was 5140 compared to 4700 of April. Primarily, people coming on student and work visas are dominating the numbers.

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