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Working Holiday Visa numbers for NZ 2023

Last Updated 22 November 2023


Wondering about the migrant labour or overseas workers coming into the country for this summer season, particularly now with the borders open? So have we!


We’re using the numbers from MBIE’s Migrant Data Explorer to see how the current migrant worker population compares with pre-Covid trends. We've just published an update with the January numbers and our November version included a longer-term look back at trends since 2016. Download the full charts with analysis below 📈



We'll post an update as the numbers are published each month from MBIE. Also, keep an eye out for our analysis on the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) numbers that we are doing as a follow up.


Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get these updates (and other seasonal hiring tips and insights) direct to your inbox.


NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 30 Oct 2023


Sorry, no data was published by MBIE (as of Nov 24 2023)


NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 30 Sept 2023

Here’s what we can see in the WHV data:


This month, the population of WHV in the country looks to be growing again like last year, and the number of WHV issued is on the increase bringing it back around the historical base rage (30-40K).


🌱 The population WHV (still living in the country) is stable and increasing—there are almost just under 31,000 people (10% up from last month)..


🌱There has been a decrease in the number of WHVs issued, reaching 4,332 (an roughly 20% reduction). It is now 20 % under the average monthly count of 5,000 from previous years.


Download the full chart with analysis below:

PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data to 30 September 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 235KB



NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 31 August 2023

Here’s what we can see in the WHV data:



This month, the population of WHV in the country looks to be have levelled off back at pre-Covid levels, and the number of WHV issued is on the increase bringing it back to the historical base.


🌱 The population WHV (still living in the country) is stable—there are almost just over 27,000 people, the same as previous months.


🌱There has been a increase in the number of WHVs issued, reaching 4,938 (an over 40% increase in the last two months). It is now back to the average monthly count of 5,000 from previous years.



Download the full chart with analysis below:

PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data to 31 August 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 232KB



NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 30 June 2023

Here’s what we can see in the WHV data:



This month, the population of WHV in the country looks to be back at pre-Covid levels but bucking the trend of declining to remain stable, and the number of WHV issued is slightly on the increase again but effectively also remaining stable.


🌱 The population WHV (still living in the country) is stable—there are almost just over 27,000 people, the same as last month.


🌱 There has been a slight increase in the number of WHVs issued, reaching 3,300 (a 5% month-on-month increase). However, it still only represents two-thirds of the average monthly count of 5,000 from previous years.


Download the full chart with analysis below:

PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data to 30 June 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 231KB



NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 31 May 2023


Here’s what we can see in the WHV data:


This month, the population of WHV in the country looks to be back at pre-Covid levels and declining as expected, and the number of WHV issued is on the increase again.


🌱 The population WHV (still living in the country) has had its peak as expected—there are almost just over 28,000 people, and that's down around another 1,000 from last month.


🌱 There has been a notable increase in the number of WHVs issued, reaching 3,200 (an increment of 700). However, it still represents two-thirds of the average monthly count of 5,000 from previous years.


Download the full chart with analysis below:

PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data to 31 May 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 230KB



NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 30 Apr 2023

Here’s what we can see in the WHV data:


This month, the population of WHV in the country is now back at pre-Covid levels, but the number of WHV issued is still only half the level of past years.


🌱 The population WHV (still living in the country) has had its peak as expected—there are almost just over 28,000 people, and that's down around a 1,000 from last month. Apart from being three months later than usual, the interesting point is that population WHV is now back at pre-Covid levels.


🌱 The number of WHV issued has gone down to 2,500 (a drop of 500). In past years, it used to be around 5,000 per month.


Download the full chart with analysis below:

PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data to 30 April 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 229KB



NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 31 March 2023

NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 31 Mar 2023



Here’s what we can see in the WHV data:


Very interesting results this month with trends now looking to be the reverse of historical ones in both WHV issued and population of WHV in the country.


🌱 The number of WHV issued has dropped and is lower than historically. It dropped to 3,000 from 3,500 the previous month and is around 5,000 from previous years.


🌱 The population of WHV in the country keeps steadily increasing. With just under 29,000 people, it is up 1,000 on last month. Historically, at this time of the year this number would be decreasing and at about the same level.


We haven't tried to identify the source of these trends but we wouldn't be surprised if weather events were a factor.



PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data to 31 March 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 216KB


NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 28 Feb 2023



Here’s what we can see in the WHV data:

🌱 Historically, the migrant worker population available for the horticulture season drops over the Dec/Jan period before picking up again.

🌱 This year it has been different to any other year pre-Covid. Numbers just keep growing at about 3000 (10%) month on end.


In our analysis, we set out two comparisons:

🌱 one, against the pre-Covid actual level; and

🌱 two, still seeing an upward trend unlike other years.


Download the full chart with analysis below:

PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data to 28 Feb 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 144KB


NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 31 Jan 2023


Here’s what we can see in the WHV data:

🌱 Since borders reopened to these workers in March 2022, the growth rate has been increasing as expected and slightly better than pre-Covid.

🌱 However, the absolute numbers are still below expectations.

🌱 February is the peak month for WHV numbers in NZ, so we’re unlikely to see more of these workers than we have right now.


In our analysis, we set out two comparisons:

🌱 one, against the pre-Covid actual level; and

🌱 two, against the overall downward trend (which we were surprised to see).


There’s a big difference between the two and you might respond differently depending on which one you think is correct.


Download the full chart with analysis below:

PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data to 31 Jan 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 227KB



NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—update 31 Dec 2022

Here's what we can see from the data:

🌱 Our migrant worker population has been steadily increasing since the borders re-opened in March 2022.

🌱 We still only have about 60% of the pre-Covid working holiday-makers in NZ.

🌱 In the latest December numbers, we can see that the rate of increase has dropped off, but this is typical of pre-Covid December numbers.

🌱 The positive news is that the numbers did not drop-off as sharply as they did in pre-Covid years.


Download the full chart with analysis below:

PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data Aug 2018 to 31 Dec 2022
.pdf
Download PDF • 318KB


NZ Working Holiday Visa stats—longer term trends, Jan 2016 to 30 Nov 2022

Here's what we can see from the data:

🌱 Covid border closures dramatically affected the number of workers who could be attracted to horticultural seasonal work in NZ.

🌱 The borders reopened in March 2022 for people on Working Holiday Visas (WHV) and the Government has taken steps to significantly increase caps and re-issue visas.

🌱 The current number of working holiday-makers in New Zealand is only half of pre-Covid numbers.

🌱 If there is not a sharp increase in the numbers in the next couple of months, we will be about 3-4 months behind the pre-Covid trend of peak numbers.


Download the full chart with analysis below:

PICMI—Working Holiday Visa data Jan 2016 to 30 Nov 2022
.pdf
Download PDF • 338KB

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