Almost 200,000 New Zealanders are considering leaving the country to find work abroad, according to the results of a survey released Thursday.
The Horizon Research poll of 3,160 New Zealanders in October last year found 3.5 percent were looking to go overseas temporarily to find work, while 1.9 percent were considering leaving the country permanently.
Based on the results, about 177,000 people were looking to go overseas to work, with 62,000 saying the move would be permanent.
A statement from Horizon Research said the survey showed 40 percent of those looking to go overseas to work were not currently in paid employment, but 16,000 were likely to come from the construction sector.
Emigration has become a major political issue in the country if 4.4 million people as unemployment rates climb and the economy remains sluggish.
In the September 2012 quarter, the unemployment rate rose to 7. 3 percent from 6.8 percent the previous quarter.
In the year ending November 2012, about 86,200 New Zealanders emigrated, up from 85,000 in the November 2011 year.
A net loss of 38,800 people to Australia contributed to the net loss of migrants in the November 2012 year, down from a record net loss of 40,000 in the August 2012 year, according to Statistics New Zealand.
The November figure resulted from 53,500 departures to Australia, offset by 14,600 arrivals from Australia. In both directions, most migrants were New Zealand citizens.