A positive of the Covid-19 has been the shift of New Zealand’s brain drain into a brain gain.
Historically, skilled Kiwis have made the jump overseas in search of better employment prospects - much to the dismay of local industries.
It contributed to shortages in fields everywhere from agriculture to healthcare, but now as New Zealanders return home there’s hope they could be here to stay.
More than 16000 ex-pats have returned to Aotearoa since the pandemic began, the first time in two decades that we’ve seen a reversal in net migration.
In the middle of last year’s dreary lockdown, the Davoren family packed up and headed home after 14 years in Melbourne.
“We thought we’d ride out a bit of the pandemic here in New Zealand, and temporarily became permanent,” Sondra Davoren told 1 NEWS.
But the shift wasn’t always easy, having to tackle many of the woes that prompt Kiwis to look overseas in the first place.
“It’s got high petrol prices, house prices aren’t exactly cheap, there’s a little bit of a reality check coming home. The trade-off here is we’re close to family.”
The recent gain is mostly down to the number of Kiwis who haven’t left as they might have when Covid-19 struck.
But, with up to a million citizens still overseas, these returnees have the potential to bring with them some significant benefits.
The Future Aspirations report by Kea New Zealand found 52 per cent of returnees expect to earn less than they did overseas, with family and lifestyle a big factor in why they move home.
However, 15 per cent of returnees say they’re already thinking of leaving again once the borders reopen.