The quality of life in Wellington, New Zealand, plays a big part in skilled migrants’ decisions to choose to live in the city and contribute to its economic prosperity, according to a new Department of Labour study.

The migrants in the study who arrived in Wellington under the Skilled Migrant Category said they had deliberately chosen it above other cities in New Zealand because of its physical beauty and geographical compactness, its unique labour market, its educational institutions and for family connections.

The research is based on in depth interviews with a small group of migrants who had earlier taken part in the Longitudinal Immigration Survey, a piece of research examining the experiences and settlement outcomes of New Zealand migrants during their first three years of permanent residence.

The 22 migrants interviewed for the study, Why Wellington? were selected from people living close to the Wellington central business district and included people from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vanuatu and Fiji.

The study participants were highly skilled people and all but four were professionals or managers. They said they found Wellington socially diverse and friendly.

‘The lifestyle here is very ideal, you know I can have a reasonably good job and also urban life but at the same time be close nature. It is 10 minutes to everything. Ten minutes to the beach, 10 minutes to the forest, to the bush, yeah and 10 minutes to downtown,’ one woman said.

The study is to be followed up with further research with migrants in other centres to explore similarities and differences in the motivations that underpin the national patterns of settling and further migration decisions, the Head of Immigration, Nigel Bickle said.

‘These findings help us learn more about how we can attract and retain the people we need for our economy to grow. Immigration plays a vital role in securing New Zealand’s prosperity. It supplies critical skills for our workforce, visitors for our valuable tourism industry and overseas students for our education industry, which are all important for the Wellington economy and its continued growth,’ he added.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said it had helped to confirm ‘what we all know about our city. Wellington is a compact, cosmopolitan city in a beautiful environment’. She added; ‘It also confirms the importance of actively promoting the city internationally to prospective migrants and supporting their settlement here through the Wellington Regional Settlement Strategy, a central government/local government initiative.’