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Over 50,000 New Zealanders enter Australia in 2011

Over 50,000 New Zealanders enter Australia in 2011

The growing need for resource workers in Australia has sparked an immigration rush from one of the country's closest neighbours.

New statistics show that approximately 1,000 New Zealanders have been making the trip across the Tasman every week on average in 2011.

A total of 50,115 NZ citizens have already taken the journey so far this year - accounting for over one per cent of the nation's total population.

In contrast, less than 15,000 have chosen to travel back - meaning Australia has gained a net increase of 35,758 to the population.

For many, the opportunity to earn an increased wage at one of the many mining and resource projects currently underway in the 'West Island' have proved to be the main drawcard.

The Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement (TTTA) allows passport-holders from Australia and New Zealand to travel freely between the two countries.

In addition the TTTA allows citizens to legally live and work in each nation without having to apply for special permission.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship requires non-citizens living in Australia to be in possession of a legal migration visa - however the Special Category Visa (SCV) is automatically applied to New Zealanders' passports as soon as they arrive in the country.

In turn this means that NZ citizens are free to work in Australia as long as they have their passport stamped on entry.

Combined with the high wages on offer in the mining and resources industry, lord mayor of Gisborne Meng Foon said that there's little wonder that so many of his 46,600 constituents have chosen to make the journey in 2011.

Speaking to the NZ Herald on December 22, Foon acknowledged that some workers were able to earn five times the average wage in Australian mines.

Foon stated: "At the end of the day the honest truth is that the wages are much better over there, and if I was younger I'd go over, too."

In some cases the resource companies have been known to make use of fly-in fly out (FIFO) arrangements, where workers are transported to the site for a number of weeks of work, then returned home to their families for a period of rest and recreation.

This type of work agreement is made easier by the automatic addition of SCVs - removing the need for separate visa permission or a permanent residency application.

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