Migration - Migration by direction, citizenship, and region Year ended August 2014–2018

Stats NZ


The 12-16 month rule is a way of defining passengers based on border movements.
A traveller who did not live here previously is considered a long-term migrant arrival if they have spent 12 of the following 16 months in New Zealand. A traveller who previously lived in New Zealand, but who spent 12 of the next 16 months out of New Zealand is classified as a long-term migrant departure.
Net migration: long-term arrivals minus long-term departures.

For more information


Limitations of the data

The current methodology to estimate international migration at the subnational takes 17 months before final estimates are available.

Changes to data collection/processing

Previous to May 2017 international migration data was reported based on departure cards. A change to an outcomes based measure of migration (which uses passport data to link arrivals and departures and accurately measure how long people spend in, or out of, New Zealand after their initial border crossing. To classify a border crossing as a migrant movement, we need to observe up to 16 months of travel history.) has enabled the removal of the departure card when travelling out of New Zealand.

The previous migration measure (permanent and long-term (PLT) migration) was estimated from travellers’ statements on arrival or departure cards – based on how long they intended to stay in New Zealand (or be away). This intentions-based measure was timely; however, traveller behaviour was not always consistent with the stated intentions at their border crossing. This may be due to: circumstances changing, misunderstanding the questions on the traveller cards and incorrectly reporting their intentions, or deciding to extend their visa or stay/absence.

The outcomes-based measure is estimated from the actual travel histories of people travelling in and out of New Zealand. This provides a more accurate measure of migration – whether they are a migrant is based on their actual movements.

Data provided by

Stats NZ

Dataset name

International Migration: Estimated migration by direction, citizenship and NZ area, 12/16-month rule (Monthly) August 2018



How to find the data

At URL provided select: Tourism > International Travel and Migration - ITM > Estimated migration by direction, citizenship and NZ area, 12/16-month rule (Monthly).
Select 'Rolling Annual' under the Travel Period tab. All other variables were selected to create this dataset.

Import & extraction details

File as imported: International Migration: Estimated migration by direction, citizenship and NZ area, 12/16-month rule (Monthly) August 2018

From the dataset International Migration: Estimated migration by direction, citizenship and NZ area, 12/16-month rule (Monthly) August 2018, this data was extracted:

  • Rows: 18-74
  • Columns: 2-1,297
  • Provided: 1,140 data points

Dataset originally released on:

February 17, 2020

About this dataset

International migration statistics give the latest outcomes-based measure of migration, which includes estimates of migrants entering or leaving New Zealand.

Purpose of collection

To track travel movements of New Zealand residents.

Method of collection/Data provider

International Migration statistics are based on electronic arrival and departure records for each passenger supplied to Stats NZ by the New Zealand Customs Service. These electronic records include flight and passport details, such as date of travel, date of birth, sex, and country of citizenship. New Zealand area comes from administrative data from the Integrated Data Infrastructure.
The geographic location of final records of migrant arrivals and departures is determined by a process that accesses integrated border movements and address notifications in the Stats NZ IDI.
Final records of migrant arrivals and departures are integrated with their address notifications histories. The address notifications with associated notification dates closest to the migrant movement dates are selected as the NZ-residence location. Migrants may have address notifications recorded before and after the migrant arrival or departure date. The address notification closest to the movement date is selected.