By The OFW Journalism Consortium Apr 06 2018

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—The number 13 is unlucky for many, especially the Chinese and those influenced by such Chinese beliefs.
But for the number of Philippines-born individuals who flew to New Zealand every day in 2017, and stayed there, they could consider it a lucky one.
Indeed, the number of Filipinos permanently settling in New Zealand on the average from 2015 to 2017 was 13. Their number even increased by some five percent in 2017, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) data shows.
Year-end data of SNZ’s monthly “International and travel migration data” showed the net migration of Filipinos as permanent and long-term migrants (PLTs) is some 4,739 Filipinos last year, 5.05 percent up from the 4,511 figure in 2016.
The 2017 and 2016 figures, however, are lower than the net permanent and long-term migration by Filipinos in 2015, which hit 5,109. This means that in three years, the total number of Filipinos who flew to New Zealand totaled 14,359, or 13.11 daily from 2015 to 2017.
Hence, the Philippines is considered the fifth-largest origin country in terms of the size of net PLT migration to New Zealand last year. The top four origin countries of these permanent and long-term migrants, in net terms, are China (9,275), India (6,746), the United Kingdom (6,371) and South Africa (4,953).
SNZ gets the figure on net PLT migration by subtracting the number of PLT departures and PLT arrivals.
BY definition, SNZ refers to PLT arrivals as “overseas migrants who arrive in New Zealand intending to stay for a period of 12 months or more (or permanently), plus New Zealand residents returning after an absence of 12 months of more.” PLT departures, for their part, are “New Zealand residents departing for an intended period of 12 months or more (or permanently), plus overseas visitors departing New Zealand after a stay of 12 months or more.”
The number of Filipinos as PLT arrivals also rose in 2017 by some 6.2 percent to 5,223 from 4.918 percent in 2016. Meanwhile, some 484 Filipinos as PLT departures were recorded in 2017, or some 18.9 percent more than the 407 who left New Zealand in 2016.
What drove Filipino PLT arrivals in 2017 were Filipinos arriving on work visas (total: 2,396). In terms of absolute number of PLT arrivals on work visas, the United Kingdom (723) and the Philippines (526) had the largest increases in work visa arrivals last year.
However, 2017 Filipino PLT arrivals on student visas (1,527) and residence visas (896) were lower I number than 2016 figures (1,570 and 973, respectively).
New Zealand had a net migration of 70,016 in 2017, given migrant PLT arrivals of 131,566 and departures of 61,550.
In terms of New Zealand’s census, the latest of which is in 2013, there are 40,347 Filipinos in New Zealand. Half of the number (20,502) lives in Auckland region and some 86 percent of these Filipinos (34,356) are born in the Philippines. 
An analysis by the Asia New Zealand Foundation written by Asian Studies Professor Manying Ip of the University of Auckland showed that Filipinos are the third-largest Asian ethnic group in New Zealand, overtaking the Koreans.
But unlike some negative media reports of the numerous entry of Chinese and Korean international students, “there was no outcry of a ‘Filipino invasion’ and no discussion of ‘Filipino student issues’ in the [New Zealand] mainstream media,” Ip wrote.
She gave five reasons for this observation: Filipinos’ high rates of English fluency, their entry as skilled migrants in New Zealand, Filipinos’ “presence as comparatively ‘stable settlers’,” Filipinos’ religious habits, and Filipinos’ Austronesian physical looks.
FILIPINOS registered a historic high of compatriots who were granted citizenship by New Zealand.
Sixty eight-year data (from 1949) of New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs showed that 3,565 Filipinos were granted citizenship in 2017. That is an 18.2 percent uptick from the 2016 total of 3,016.
The DIA’s dataset has records beginning in 1949, a year when three Filipinos were granted citizenship. Though, there were no recorded naturalizations by Filipinos from 1950 to 1967, not until 1968 when another three Filipinos got naturalized.
In New Zealand’s 1936 census, there were six Filipino residents in New Zealand. Come the 1951 census, there were 18 Filipino residents born in the Philippines —and the figure shot up to 234 (1976) to 37,302 as per the 2013 census.
As for the 68-year dataset of the DIA, there are now a total of 33,083 Filipinos who were granted New Zealand citizenship. Filipinos are seventh among ethnic groups granted citizenship, behind the British (170,693), Indians (57,718), Chinese (56,915), South Africans (55,998), Fijians (47,256) and Western Samoans (45,232).
But in terms of total Filipino population (by ethnic identity), there are 40,347 Filipinos in the country (56 percent of whom are female), says the 2013 census. Some 50.8 percent of Filipinos, adds the 2013 census, are in the Auckland region, followed by the Wellington (12.7 percent) and Canterbury (12.1 percent) regions.
Historical surge
FILIPINOS arriving in New Zealand to study, work and settle permanently surged after the country liberalized its immigration policy in 1987, wrote Wardlow Friesen of the University of Auckland in a 2017 study published in the journal Asia Pacific Viewpoint. Prior to 1986, Filipino students were brought to New Zealand through an aid program for South and Southeast Asian countries called the Colombo Plan.
In the 1970s to 1980s, a small number of Filipinos arrived as professionals that filled skilled occupations or as marriage migrants (mostly women marrying New Zealanders).
But come the 1990s, Friesen wrote, the number of Filipinos steadily increased in the 1990s. Resident population also breached the 10,000 mark at the turn of the new millennium. And between the 2006 and 2013 census of New Zealand, Filipinos became the “most rapidly growing migrant group.”
Three pathways to entry in New Zealand affected the influx of Filipinos to the country, writes Friesen. Those are as international students, as temporary migrant workers and as permanent residents. New Zealand allows international students to work while study and currently provides a pathway to residency for migrants entering on a student visa.
As for temporary migrants, citing 2008-2014 data from Immigration New Zealand, Friesen wrote that the top three occupations of Filipinos are “personal carers and assistants (6,023), “farmers and farm managers” (5,620) and “midwifery and nursing professionals” (3,194). Using also the same period, covering permanent residents, most of the Filipinos who became PRs in New Zealand are “midwifery and nursing professionals (2,269, of which three-fourths of them are female, and mostly nurses). 
“The potential for transition (by migrants) between student, work and PR visas has increased, and Filipinos have been keen to take advantage of these transition possibilities,” Friesen wrote.
But the geographer Friesen added that Filipinos who entered New Zealand with limited skills and educational qualifications were not able to capitalize on these opportunities from the three usual migrant pathways.
Thus, there are Filipinos who are stable and longer-term residents” in the country, as well as compatriots “in vulnerable situations of temporariness and ongoing mobility,” Friesen said in his paper.                                                                                                                                                     
JEREMAIAH OPINIANO reporting from Adelaide, Australia