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Economy would be at risk without Asian immigration

4th April 2008

IPENZ – NZ’s economy would be at risk without Asian immigration

New Zealand increasingly relies on Asian graduates and migrants to provide a highly skilled engineering workforce that can develop infrastructure and industry to ensure future economic growth.

IPENZ, is concerned that the vital contribution of engineers of Asian ethnicity is not well known

“Even though people of Asian ethnicity are only about 6% of our population they contribute close to 50% of our engineering students. Given that New Zealand has severe shortages of engineers and that we have the lowest proportion of engineering graduates in the OECD, any reduction in inwards migration would place us at huge risk,” says Dr Andrew Cleland, IPENZ Chief Executive.

“Contrast us to Taiwan – 23 million people but graduating 48,000 engineers per year – 9 times our rate. Their engineers have driven their economy forward,” says Dr Cleland. “The engineering powerhouse of the world is increasingly recognised as Asia.

“Our analysis of school NCEA results show that our Asian students succeed in technical subjects at rates above our other major ethnic constituencies. If we really want to lift our economic performance we need to embrace the talent available in Asia, knowing that many of them will contribute very positively through joining our engineering workforce. Further, the children of Asian migrants are likely to graduate in science or engineering and also contribute themselves,” he says.

“Many East Asian countries are succeeding in entering the Washington Accord and other international engineering mobility agreements to which New Zealand belongs. We see their standards as equivalent.


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