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Work Matches Qualifications for NZ Immigrants

Work Matches Qualifications for New Zealand Immigrants

The longer that skilled immigrants are in New Zealand, the more likely they are to be employed in positions that are commensurate with their qualifications, according to a Statistics New Zealand report released today. The report, which used census data, found that 70 percent of immigrants with bachelor's degrees who had arrived in New Zealand in the 10 years prior to the 2001 Census were working in professional, technical and managerial positions. This increased to 82 percent for those with higher qualifications.

At the time of the 2001 Census, almost 23 percent of all working-age immigrants who had lived in New Zealand less than one year were unemployed. This figure fell markedly to just over 13 percent of those who had been here for one to two years. Immigrants who had been here 10 years or longer had a lower unemployment rate than New Zealand-born workers.

The report, Degrees of Difference: the Employment of University-qualified Immigrants in New Zealand, examines the labour market position of recent immigrants ¡V particularly those with university qualifications ¡V using data from the 2001 Census. It concludes that for most qualified immigrants, unemployment or underemployment in low-skilled work is a transitional rather than long-term experience.

About a quarter of immigrants who arrived in New Zealand in the 10 years prior to the 2001 Census held university qualifications, with one in 10 having higher-level degrees.

They have tended to fare better in the labour market than those without university qualifications. While there were some university-qualified migrants working in low-skilled occupations, most were employed and working in professional, technical and managerial positions, and in many cases running their own businesses. ƒnƒnThe lower the level of qualification, the more likely immigrants were to be unemployed or to be working in manual, service and sales jobs. Immigrants who were unemployed or working in low-skilled occupations were most likely to be very recent immigrants and from non-English-speaking countries, predominantly in the Asian region. They were also more likely to be women, to be in younger working-age groups, and to live in Auckland.

Immigration to New Zealand increased markedly following the introduction of the points system in 1991 to attract skilled immigrants. While immigrants arriving between 1991 and 2001 experienced a range of employment outcomes, their labour market position generally improved with their duration of residence in New Zealand.

Degrees of Difference: the Employment of University-qualified Immigrants in New Zealand is available free from Statistics New Zealand's website:

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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