Expats in New Zealand who speak English as their main language are paid more, new research from the department of Labour has found.

The research examined the success of migrants in the job market in New Zealand in the first three years after they gain residence.
‘The information collected from this research provides a unique insight into how quickly and how well migrants are settling into the New Zealand job market and contributing to the economy,’ said Vasantha Krishnan, general manager of the Labour and Immigration Research Centre.

‘Migrants’ early experiences in New Zealand have a significant impact on how well they settle and their ability to make a valuable contribution to society,’ she added.
The research found that primary applicants from the Skilled and Pacific categories integrated quickly into the New Zealand labour market by finding a job and also actively looking for work. Both categories maintained high labour force participation rates, in excess of 90% of total applicants.

Another significant finding from the report showed that although previous New Zealand work experience seemed important initially, over time, it was not a key factor in employment rates for migrants.

The report looked at immigration approval category, region of origin, and prior New Zealand work experience and how these factors influenced how well migrants were doing in the New Zealand workforce.

The role of age, sex, English language proficiency, qualifications, and family make up were also examined in the 5,000 participants aged 16 and over.

Those selected for interview were approved for permanent residence in New Zealand from 01 November 2004 to 31 October 2005. The final round of interviews with migrants was completed between November 2007 and October 2009.

Findings from this research will inform future immigration policy development.