Increase in the number of Americans visiting New Zealand immigration sites

Thousands of Americans have visited New Zealand immigration websites following the Supreme Court’s controversial abortion law ruling.

By Gill Bonnett of RNZ

The Supreme Court overturned the Rode v Wade decision reversing a 50-year-old ruling that legalized abortion on a federal basis, meaning individual states can now ban the procedure.

Since then, one of the two main government websites has seen a 443% increase in visits from the United States.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) said it recorded 45,235 visits to New Zealand Now from the United States in the past week, compared to 8,319 from April 19-25.

Views of its website, combined with those of Immigration New Zealand itself, reached 77,000, nearly four times the comparison number in April.

“The New Zealand Now website is a government website run by INZ which focuses on providing information to people wishing to move to New Zealand for work or investment,” said Stephanie Greathead, Acting Chief Executive of customer engagement and education.

Analysis via Google shows the search term Immigration New Zealand peaked in America on Saturday night, as Americans digest the news that the overturning of the 1973 Roe v Wade decision made access to abortions virtually impossible in at least 18 states.

Nonetheless, it still falls short of the “move to New Zealand” tracking numbers recorded when Donald Trump was elected president.

This spike in interest was followed by an increase in the number of American investors and migrants – although INZ pointed to the increase in the number of websites this week, as well as the capture of repeat visitors, do not reflect visa applications that have been made or people actually moving here.

The Trump and Brexit votes, both in 2016, were however followed by an increase in applications for work and residency visas.

Britain and the United States recorded more visits to the immigration website after the 2016 presidential vote than the next 13 countries combined, including China and India.

A staffing agency told RNZ this week it had been inundated with requests from American doctors wanting to come here following the abortion ruling, particularly GPs and obstetricians.