By Jeffrey Hodgson and Charlotte Greenfield
TORONTO/WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Canada's main immigration website appeared to crash and New Zealand reported increased traffic to its website for residency visas from U.S. nationals in the hours before Donald Trump surged to victory in the U.S. presidential election.
Canada's main immigration website appeared to suffer repeated outages on Tuesday night as Trump took the lead in several major states and his prospects for winning the U.S. presidency turned markedly higher. In the following hours he won most of those states.
In New Zealand, immigration officials told Reuters on the eve of the vote that New Zealand Now website, which deals with residency and student visas, had received 1,593 registrations from United States citizens since Nov. 1 – more than 50 percent of a typical month’s registrations in just seven days.
Visits to New Zealand Now from the United States were up almost 80 percent to 41,000 from 7 Oct to 7 November, compared with the same period last year.
Rod Drury, the chief executive of NZ-based global accounting software firm Xero, said the statistics matched up with interest his company has been seeing from prospective U.S. national employees concerned about a Trump win.
Drury said what started as a joke was becoming a reality.
"I’ve got lots of messages coming through at the moment asking for a job in New Zealand, and we’re saying ‘yes you can’," Drury told Reuters by telephone on Wednesday.
"It will be interesting to see whether it translates into real action, it’s an active conversation that moved to getting more serious and we’ll see what will happen in the next month."
NZ immigration officials declined to comment.
Meanwhile, some users in the United States, Canada and Asia saw an error message when trying to access Canada's immigration website.
Canadian officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but the website's problems were noted by many on Twitter.
After some Americans, often jokingly, said they would move to Canada if Trump was elected, the idea was taken up by some Canadian communities.
In February, the island of Cape Breton on Canada's Atlantic coast marketed itself as a tranquil refuge for Americans seeking to escape should Trump capture the White House.
Drury said New Zealand and other non-American tech companies would benefit from a Trump win.
"A lot of the tech world has been driven out of the U.S. and I think this does change the landscape quite a lot," he said.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told the New York Times in July that her late husband Martin D. Ginsburg would have been advocating a move to New Zealand if Trump became president.
(Writing by Jane Wardell in WELLINGTON; Editing by Michael Perry and Martin Howell)