Recruiting Immigrant Workers: New Zealand 2014

image of Recruiting Immigrant Workers: New Zealand 2014

New Zealand is among the OECD countries that have been settled by migration. Currently more than a quarter of the New Zealand workforce is foreign-born. Despite being a settlement country, most labour migration is temporary and permanent migration mainly draws from the pool of temporary labour migrants. Current temporary labour migration is equivalent to 3.6% of the workforce, by far the largest figure in the OECD. An elaborate system of labour-market tests and exemptions aims to limit negative impact on the domestic workforce while at the same time responding to employer needs. A large part of temporary flows is into low-skilled jobs with little steering possibilities, and some vigilance is needed. For permanent migration, which is also among the highest in per capita terms among OECD countries, New Zealand operates with target numbers. The country faces difficulties in meeting thes targets, whose value-added in a largely demand-driven system - favoring immigrants with a job offer - is questionable.



Context for labour migration to New Zealand

Immigration has been a driving force in the development of New Zealand throughout its history and the country has one of the largest immigration flows in the OECD. Partly because of the longstanding and significant immigration flows, the demographic outlook for New Zealand is much more favourable than in most other OECD countries. Apart from demographic projections, relatively little is known about the extent and evolution of labour shortages in New Zealand. That notwithstanding, compared with most other OECD countries, New Zealand has rich data and research about labour migration, a large part of which is publicly accessible.


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