Far out Friday: Canada isn’t far enough for some Americans amid Trump win

by NZ Adviser11 Nov 2016
(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand is about 8,000 miles from the U.S., but Americans are flocking here -- or at least to our immigration website.

In the wake of the most fractious U.S. presidential election in recent memory, Immigration New Zealand has been inundated with web visits from U.S.-based Internet users with thousands registering their interest in its visa programs. Some 56,300 visits were recorded in the 24 hours to 9 a.m. New Zealand time Thursday (3 p.m. in New York Wednesday), INZ Marketing Manager Greg Forsythe said. That’s more than 24 times the daily average of 2,300 visits.

“INZ typically receives about 3,000 registrations each month via the New Zealand Now website from U.S. nationals interested in studying, working or investing,” Forsythe said in an e-mail Thursday. “In the past 24 hours, 7,287 registrations have been received from American citizens -- more than twice the number of a typical month’s registrations.”

New Zealand’s isolation, once its Achilles heel, is turning into an advantage with the South Pacific nation emerging as a popular haven for wealthy foreigners seeking a hedge against political uncertainty in the U.S. and Europe. Closer to home, Canada, too, has become a popular destination for Americans. Searches for “moving to Canada” surged Wednesday as President-elect  Donald Trump won key states including Florida, Google Trends data shows.

Canadian Site Crashed
The wave of inquiries may have helped crash Canada’s citizenship and immigration website, which showed an error message as Trump’s victory looked more certain, and was down the rest of the night. Trump’s victory, like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election win last year, reflect anxiety among middle-class voters, the Canadian leader said Wednesday in Ottawa.

Realtors and migration agents said they’ve seen an uptick in inquiries from American citizens over the past few months, with the acrimonious presidential fight between Trump and Hillary Clinton cited among reasons to flee, Bloomberg News reported a week ago in a story that attracted almost 4,000 shares on social media, according to Muck Rack.

The Immigration New Zealand website received 207,340 visits from the U.S. in the past month, compared with 105,245 in the same period last year, while the New Zealand Now website, which contains information about living, working, studying and investing in the bucolic island nation, received 126,380 U.S. visits, compared to 40,520 a year earlier, Forsythe said.

In the year ended June, 1,288 Americans were approved for residence, 8,876 were given visas to work there and 2,997 received student visas, he said.

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