The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment's Migration Trends and Outlook report, released today, shows net migration has rebounded from a net loss of 3200 in 2011/12 to a net gain of 38,300 in the 2013/14 year.
The report, which updates trends and compares recent immigration patterns with those identified in previous years, shows the number of skilled migrant residence approvals increased 12 per cent after showing decreases in the previous four years.
The number of work migrants at 155,794 are up 7 per cent, and people approved for resident visas increased 13 per cent to 44,008.
International students are also back, with a 15 per cent increase last year to 73,150, after decreases the two previous years. More than half of all students were studying here for the first time; India in particular had 76 per cent more new students here compared with the previous year.
International students from India were up 63 per cent, mainly due to the doubling of full fee-paying students in private training establishments.
China is still the most significant source of international students.
Immigration expert and Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley said net migration gain was now a more significant factor than natural increase for New Zealand's population growth.
The number of temporary workers increased across all three main work categories, with a 12 per cent increase in the working holiday scheme, 18 per cent in essential skills and 5 per cent in the family policy.
More than 40 per cent or more than 20,000 of residence approvals involved migrants approved under the skilled migrant category last year.