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OECD commends NZ immigration – migrant numbers strong in workforce

Posted on July  18 , 2014

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has commended New Zealand on its immigration policy and found that it is working well.

The OECD noted that New Zealand has a longstanding history of immigration and its labour migration flows are among the largest in the OECD. Temporary labour migration in New Zealand is the highest in the OECD relative to its population. More than one out of four persons in the workforce is foreign-born. 

The report also notes that migrants are highly represented among the high-educated and their labour market outcomes are favourable in international comparison.

More than 23,000 essential skills visas (work visas based on shortages) were granted over the 2011-2012 year, with the main country of origin being from UK (16%), followed by Phillipines (14%) and India (11%).

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of essential skills visas in 2011-2012 were from outside New Zealand.

In terms of essential skills applications, the rejection rate is not very high, compared to other countries.

In addition to essential skills visas, a large component of temporary workers is from international students and working holiday schemes.

There is also good retention of skilled workers, with about 75% of skilled migrants staying for more than 5 years after obtaining residence.

The OECD has made a number of policy recommendations, which the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will bear in mind when considering its future policy work programme.

Sources: Immigration New Zealand; OECDiLibrary