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Immigration Seminar Highlights Migrant Experiences

Immigration Seminar Highlights Migrants’ Experiences

Research which showed how migrants settle and contribute to New ZeaIand was launched by Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel at a major research seminar today.

Around 80 people attended the day-long Immigration Research Seminar: Immigration and New Zealand Society in Auckland which featured recent immigration and settlement-related research from central and local government researchers, academics and private sector organisations.

Presentations focused on migrant flows to New Zealand, employment outcomes, the fiscal impact of migrants, where migrants chose to settle (including why many migrants from Asia and the Pacific were likely to be living in Auckland), migrant health, employers’ attitudes to migrants and the impact of business migrants on New Zealand.

“By examining research into immigration trends and flows, we are better placed to make informed decisions about immigration policy which will help us achieve more positive settlement outcomes for both migrants and New Zealand society,” said Lianne Dalziel. Commenting on Department of Labour research, which showed that recent migrants to New Zealand were being employed in greater numbers, Lianne Dalziel said that the trend was encouraging.

“An analysis of data from Census 2001 shows that migrants of prime working age (25-54) who arrived in New Zealand during the past five years, were doing better in the labour market than their predecessors who had arrived in the early 1990s had done initially,” said Lianne Dalziel.

“Since the 1996 Census, there had been a definite improvement in the number of prime working age migrants participating in the labour market. In fact, this improvement in employment outpaced improvements seen in the New Zealand born population. However, despite the improvement, the employment rate for new migrants remains lower than that of New Zealand-born people and that is why the Government continues to emphasise settlement outcomes.”

Those from non-English speaking countries (with the exception of Eastern Europe) continued to have lower employment rates than migrants from English-speaking countries or New Zealand-born prime working-aged people. Prime working age migrants from north-east Asia, the Pacific and south-east Asia continued to have the lowest relative employment rates.

“It is pleasing to see that employment trends are moving in the right direction. Overall, those born overseas still take varying amounts of time to settle but after 10 years, most migrants have very similar employment outcomes to New Zealanders and are making a valuable contribution to our skill base. Those migrants on work permits have the advantage of becoming a key part of the workforce upon arrival and the Government’s work to residence policies are designed to leverage off that advantage,” said Lianne Dalziel.

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