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India has emerged as the largest source country for New Zealand with a 12 percent increase in approval of applications under the skilled migrant category for the 2010-11 financial year.

Among the top source countries to New Zealand, Britain decreased by 17 percent, China decreased by 11 percent, South Africa decreased by 37 percent and the Philippines decreased by 25 percent, according to the Migration Trends Statistics (MTS) report for July 2010 to May 2011.India’s increase was due to former Indian students who transited to temporary work and then on to permanent residence, it said.

“The drop in skilled migration has seen a decrease in residence approvals from all of the main source countries, with the exception of India which increased by 12 percent,” the MTS report stated.

The report focused on three key areas – the New Zealand residence programme, permanent skilled migration and temporary entry.With regard to student visas to New Zealand, as many as 69,448 people were approved in July 2010-May 2011 – a three percent increase from the 67,453 in the previous financial year. From July 2010-May 2011, the largest source countries of students were China (23 percent), India (14 percent) and South Korea (12 percent).

Indian-origin MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi said as New Zealand was a peaceful country, it has emerged as an ideal destination for study. Its spectacular scenery and rich and diverse culture were the other factors that made it a favourite among Indians.

Richard Howard, honorary member and past chairman of the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment, said: “These statistics confirm the clear trend that New Zealand is seen as an increasingly attractive study and migrant destination for Indian students.”

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