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Survey of those arriving in NZ since onset of COVID-19 helps assess economic impact

A survey of people arriving in New Zealand since the initial COVID-19 border restrictions has been carried out to find out more about their intentions and needs.

This release presents the first findings from the Survey of New Zealand Arrivals, which surveyed returnees (and other arrivals) after arriving in New Zealand.

These preliminary results reflect those of the arrival population between August 1, 2020, and January 9, 2021. A total of 5014 people arriving during this period participated in the Survey.

The results have been weighted to reflect New Zealand arrivals in this group during the arrival period.

"The information collected is intended to give government a fuller picture of those arriving in New Zealand during the COVID-19 period. This information will help agencies to develop more responsive policies, as well as examine the longer term outcomes in employment, social services, housing and education," says David Paterson, manager migration evidence and insights, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The top reason for returning to New Zealand was for family-related or compassionate reasons. Half of arrivals said COVID-19 was a factor in their decision to come to New Zealand, while just under a quarter said they would leave New Zealand if the COVID-19 situation improved.

The survey also showed that over half of those who arrived live in a property they own, partly own, or that is owned by family or friends. Around 27 per cent are living in a long-term rental property. The results showed that just over half of the respondents reported that COVID-19 had played a part in their return or travel to New Zealand. Thirty-nine per cent of arrivals were living in Auckland, fourteen per cent in Wellington, and ten per cent in Canterbury.

Seventy-nine per cent of arrivals agreed that their current living situation met their living needs. Thirty-seven per cent had a new job in New Zealand, and thirty-five per cent were not in paid employment.

This cross-government collaboration, involving eleven agencies, ensures that the information needs of multiple government agencies are collected in a coordinated way, while reducing the burden on respondents of completing surveys from multiple agencies.

The Survey of New Zealand Arrivals is ongoing and further findings will be released as they become available.

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