Drop in migrants hits NZ government coffers
Immigration New Zealand may be heading for its biggest deficit ever due to the drop in people entering the country.
A paper to the Immigration Minister reports the agency's account is set to hit a deficit of $44 million by June, an increase from $28.1 million last October, reports the NZ Herald.
The paper says it is largely due to a drop in applications for visas as a result of the global financial crisis and the earthquakes in Canterbury. It added the agency's business model, which has a high fixed-cost, means it is not unable to decrease operating costs in line with the lower application volume.
Acting immigration head Steve Stuart said visa applications decreased by 17,301 in 2011 to 516,024 - from 533,325 in 2010. The greatest drops were for people seeking permanent residence, down 11.5 per cent. Temporary work visa applications dropped 4.7 per cent, and applications for student visas were down 2.6 per cent.
Mr Stuart said that Immigration New Zealand's income from applications for visas was $108.3 million, 58.4 per cent of it’s total revenue. The paper added that the agency is creating a new operating model that will lead to cheaper and better immigration services.
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