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Immigration in New Zealand

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This research proposal analyzes the issue of immigration in New Zealand from a multidimensional perspective. The main interest of this research is of economic nature viz. employment and lifestyle. A comparative analysis will finally be done to help in comparing the economic condition of the immigrants’ countries and that of New Zealand. Due to the technical nature of the subject matter, analysis will be conducted using secondary data that has already been compiled by relevant agencies. The major researches that will give this research proposal a proper direction will be from Immigration Survey Monitoring Program (New Zealand) and Foundation for Research Science and Technology (New Zealand). Using the findings of these empirical literatures, a generalization will then be made to comprise conclusion.


Introduction and background

New Zealand features among the few countries in which the population of immigrants accounts to a significant proportion of the total population (OECD 12). In New Zealand, immigrants accounts to about 25% of the total population. Despite the fact that a significant number of New Zealanders go abroad annually; either on permanent or temporary basis, the population of New Zealand is ever increasing (Hugo 25). This is because the immigration rate (number of people coming to New Zealand) exceeds emigration rate (number of people moving out of New Zealand). The country is therefore diverse in terms of demography, social and economic aspects viz. lifestyle and employment (Card 45).

The fact that immigrants form a significant proportion of New Zealand’s population justifies an analysis of the comparative living conditions between the natives and immigrants. It is with this regard that is imperative to carry out a study seeking to understand the current situation of living. It is evident that immigration impacts on New Zealand in multidimensional ways (Hanson 17). This research paper, however, will majorly take an economic perspective. This is because the impact of immigration is usually evaluated in economic terms.

Immigration to New Zealand has mainly flourished owing to the fact that the government does not deploy a stringent policy to control it. It is imperative to note that New Zealand has a liberal immigration program (Qian 29). Provided a person has the right skills and experience he can be granted permanent residence almost instantly. This is through an immigration program called Skilled Migrant Category. Immigrants usually provide a variety of reasons for coming to New Zealand. According to a statistical survey, around 40 % of immigrants come to New Zealand in quest to enjoy the good green climate while 39 % come in such of employment opportunities; to enable them improve the living standards of their children. One study suggests that 92.5 % of immigrants are contented with lifestyle in New Zealand upon their six months stay. In fact 92.2% declared their intentions to continue living in the country for the next three years (Monetary and Economic Council 35). Furthermore, it should be recorded that immigrants in New Zealand are usually successful in getting employment opportunities. Statistics from the government statistical department depicts that 95% of the skilled immigrants who applied for the Skilled Migration Program, are actively employed with only 1.9% seeking for jobs (Harvey 8). This implies that there are many job opportunities for immigrants in New Zealand. Though many immigrants do not face problems in acquiring jobs, lack of New Zealand job oriented experience has been cited as the major impediment hindering immigrants to enjoy job opportunities in equal measure with the native (White & Tadesse 498).

Research Questions

The primary objective of this research proposal will be answering the following research questions;

       I.            What are the major drivers for immigration in New Zealand?

    II.            What is the current labor market condition for immigrants?

 III.            What are the major challenges facing immigrants in New Zealand?


By holding the following hypothesis to be true, the findings of this research proposal will be credible and a representation of the reality,

       I.            Findings by Immigration Survey Monitoring Program and Foundation for Research Science and Technology are a true representation of the reality on the ground.

     II.            The respondents were not biased in their response’s

   III.            The population of interest is a true and fair representation of the entire immigrant’s population.


Using the sources mentioned, I will be using these together with data that has already been collected and compiled by government departments and other agencies. Different research questions will be handled using different methods. In trying to answer the first question; major drivers for immigration, I will be using interviews that has already been conducted on immigrants asking them why they chose to come to New Zealand. More specifically, I will be using the findings of the research conducted by Foundation for Research Science and Technology in New Zealand. In answering the second question; the current labor market condition for immigrants, I will be using empirical literature that has been compiled in documentaries and scholarly articles. I will use data from Immigration Survey Monitoring Program. The third question is a matter of observation. I will therefore seek to provide an answer based on what immigrants have been saying about their experience in New Zealand. Data from Immigration Survey Monitoring Program will also play an imperative role in answering this question.

In most cases, therefore, I will be perusing through findings by the Migrant Survey (pilot) for 2009. The survey selected migrants aged 16 years and above as the population of interest. The target population comprised of a total of 23,956 respondents (migrants). From the target population, further exclusion based on different criteria was done, leaving only 8,594 migrants to participate in this survey. Out of this number, 36% responded to the survey and the responses were made mainly online or through telephone interviews. Those eligible to participate in this survey were sent letters to notify them in advance. Those who had access to the internet finished the survey online. 2,092 of the respondents participated in the online survey while 1,000 respondents participated in the telephone interview. To improve the credibility of the study, only immigrants with physical address were allowed to participate.

  • Data gathering tools

As described above, the data that has been used in this analysis had been collected by use of questionnaires. Besides, interviews were also conducted mainly via the telephone. Surveys by relevant agencies also constitute a major source of information.


Data Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation

  • Research by Foundation for Research Science and Technology (New Zealand)


According to a research conducted by the Integration of Immigrants Program (IIP) by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, economic factors are the main reason behind immigration in New Zealand (UNDP 54). The findings of the survey which focused on five groups; British, Chinese, Indians, Koreans and south Africans suggests that most immigrants come to New Zealand in quest to find employment opportunities and thereby improve on their lifestyle (Kennedy 7). Lifestyle is therefore the main driver of immigration in New Zealand. Lifestyle is the main motivator of migration.


  • Data from Immigration Survey Monitoring Programme 2009 Migrant Survey (pilot)

N.B. Table 1 and table 2 have been adopted from Immigration Survey Monitoring Program.



From figure 1 immigrant have access to good job opportunities in New Zealand. The conditions are favorable in terms of experience and skills that match to the labor market. The 2009 Migrants Survey suggests that 68% of the principal immigrants are actively employed. 81% of these principal immigrants said that they were deriving much satisfaction from their jobs. Moreover, more than 90% of the skilled principal foreigners had been employed with more than 80% of them holding working permits. Further analysis shows that 95% of immigrants approved through the Essential Skills Policy had jobs. 70 % of those approved through the Family-related work policy also had jobs. In overall terms, only less than 10% of the immigrants lacked jobs in the entire labor market. Moreover, 83% of the immigrants were working on full time basis. 25% of those employed in the category of skilled secondary were working on part-time basis while only 4% of principal immigrants with skills and 4% of the Essential Skills Workers worked on part time basis.


Figure 2 depicts that 63% of the respondents (immigrants) found the climate in New Zealand to be better than they had actually expected. Many said that the climate was better than at their home country. The figure also depicts that New Zealand was far much ahead in terms of security and education quality. On the other hand, there was mixed reactions on the issue of housing and the ability to secure an employment opportunity. The number of respondents who said that the two aspects were better than at their home country was almost equal with the number that found them worse than at their home country. This can be best explained by the hardships that immigrants undergo upon their arrival at New Zealand. They include job and housing problems and unrealistic expectation. 33.33% of the immigrants also felt that the level of taxes imposed and the cost of living were higher than they had expected. The impression here is that they are probably higher than at their home. On matters of education, 41% of foreign students felt that the cost of education was much higher than they had expected. In contrast to this, more than 30% thought that the quality of education was much higher than in their country. Only 13% thought that the quality of education was inferior to their home country.


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