US interest in moving to New Zealand jumps during COVID-19 pandemic

More Americans are reportedly looking to move to New Zealand amidst the coronavirus.

New Zealand went into lockdown on March 25 and was already beginning to loosen social restrictions by May. The disease was effectively eliminated through strict border restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

The country has reported less than 1,500 COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths.

Given the impressive feat of effective eradication of the pandemic, many Americans are expressing their interest in moving to New Zealand.

The Guardian reported that the South Pacific country saw a huge surge in traffic to its New Zealand Now website, with 80,000 Americans seeking information on how to emigrate in the month of May alone. Immigration New Zealand revealed that the number was a 65% jump compared to the same time last year.

Citizens in the United Kingdom have also expressed interest in relocating to New Zealand, with a 18.5% increase in traffic — or 31,000 people. Other top nationalities visiting the immigration site included Australians, South Africans and Indians.

Despite the increased interest and absence of the virus, New Zealand borders remain closed to all foreign nationals, with the exception of essential workers. There is currently no indication on when the borders will re-open.

This is certainly not the first time New Zealand is gaining attention from those looking to move abroad: Similar surges of interest appeared after the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in 2016.

In the 24 hours following the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, Immigration New Zealand received over 56,000 visits from Americans — a large jump from its average daily traffic of 2,300 visits. Within the same time period, over 7,000 Americans registered their interest in immigrating to the country, which was more than double the monthly average.

Currently, the United States leads the world with over 3 million cases and 133,000 deaths, according to the latest data from John’s Hopkins University.

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