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Monday, 17 December 2018 12:10 pm

Post- Brexit Brits are keeping calm and not fleeing to NZ after all

Dec 1st, 2016 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Lead Story

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Photo image creative commons

Post- Brexit Brits are keeping calm and not fleeing to New Zealand after all.

In the weeks after Britain voted to leave the European Union on June 23 , New Zealand was told to prepare for a British invasion.

Stuff.co.nz reported a tenfold increase in registrations to immigrate to New Zealand, a trebling of British visitors to Immigration New Zealand’s website and a flurry of inquiries from Brits wanting to buy property in New Zealand.

But it seems the great post Brexit British invasion hasn’t actually eventuated.

About 5000 British migrants arrived on our shores in the year ended September 2016. While this is up 1309 (36%) from 2015, it’s down from the five year high of 5302 in 2014.

Maybe the lack of interest in New Zealand is because it’s still not clear when Britain will leave the European Union.

Maybe it’s because the price of a calming cup of tea for Brits spending the British pound in New Zealand has increased 17% since June, the pound having dropped $2.00 NZ to $1.70 in that time.

Or maybe it’s because it’s got harder to immigrate to New Zealand as Immigration New Zealand has changed residency criteria.

Brexiting Brits with the right skills have opportunities here, with our list of immediate skill shortages listing vacancies in trades and medical professions.

We are also looking for market gardeners, poultry farmers, a stallion master, stud master, skydive tandem master and at least two Doctors of philosophy.

For the Mitchell family, who arrived here from Leeds in August, Brexit had little influence on their decision to come here.

Frank and Helen Mitchell have settled in Timaru with their two children.

“We had decided to come here before Brexit, for lifestyle reasons” said Helen Mitchell.

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Linda and Frankie (9) McLaughlan. Photo supplied

“We got here in the skilled migrant category, Frank is a plumber. We had been wanting to move to New Zealand for a few years” she said.

She doesn’t get the feeling from people back home that many are leaving the UK because of Brexit.

Linda and Sam McLaughlan arrived three weeks ago with their two children and have settled in Paekakariki.

Linda is an expat Kiwi returning home, Sam is a British teacher.

The family had been living in Hampshire, and had decided to move to New Zealand before the Brexit decision.

“We had already made the decision to come back, but Brexit made us feel we were making the right decision” said Linda.

She says friends and family in Britain might consider a move to New Zealand from post Brexit Britain, but family ties will likely keep people there.

“You have to be a particular type of person to leave because of a political situation” she said.

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Billy (7) and Sam McLaughlan. Photo supplied.

She thinks that the fact that she and her family are living in New Zealand might prompt a number of their UK based buddies to come visit.

However, Brits are still coming to check out New Zealand.

Around 215,500 of them visited last year, up about 7% (and 16,528 more visitors) than the year before.

Migrant arrivals in New Zealand were a record 125,600 in the last year, up 6,800 (6%) from the previous year. New Zealand citizens returning to live in New Zealand accounted for almost one-quarter (31,200) of all migrant arrivals.

Visitor arrivals to New Zealand were a record 3.39 million in the 2016 year, up 346,000 (11%) from 2015. A 17% increase in holiday arrivals (up 249,400 to 1.74 million) was largely responsible.

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