Migrants with skills thriving in New Zealand, research shows

by Ray Clancy on April 19, 2012

Skilled migrant category generally working well, says Department of Labour research

New research by the Department of Labour in New Zealand has found the skilled migrant category is generally working well, with 94% of skilled migrants in jobs three years after migrating, and earning on average $30 an hour.

The research study called Points of Difference aimed to find out how well skilled migrants integrated into the New Zealand workforce by assessing the points they were awarded under different categories against their wages.

‘Three years after taking up residence, 94% of migrants are employed and earning on average $30 an hour. Migrants with higher qualifications are rewarded with significantly higher earnings, suggesting they’ve managed to successfully use their skills in their jobs in New Zealand. For instance, those with a degree earned a third more than the few skilled migrants with no post school qualification,’ said Vasantha Krishnan, Department of Labour head of research.

‘Skilled migrants who were awarded points for a job offer were also found to earn at least as much as skilled migrants who were already working in New Zealand when they applied for residence. Despite not having New Zealand experience, migrants with a job offer were able to quickly and successfully settle in to work in New Zealand,’ she explained.

‘The research found the skilled migrant category was generally working well and only suggests some minor changes to further improve the policy design, by simplifying the number of questions asked of applicants and better matching the points granted against likelihood of future earnings. These findings will be used to inform future policy development in this area,’ she added.

She also pointed out that the research confirmed previous research that had shown that skilled migrants in New Zealand achieve excellent outcomes in world terms.

The skilled migrant category is designed to enable people with the ability to contribute to New Zealand economically and socially to gain permanent residence by awarding points for transferable skills and employability factors, including job offers, recognised qualifications and work experience in comparable labour markets. Migrants have to reach a certain number of points in order to be granted residence.

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