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Migration Trends & Outlook 2008/09

International Migration, Settlement and Employment Dynamics (IMSED) Research

Department of Labour

Disclaimer: The Department of Labour has made every effort to ensure that the information contained in this report is reliable, but makes no guarantee of its accuracy or completeness and does not accept any liability for any errors. The Department may change the contents of this report at any time without notice.

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Department of Labour
PO Box 3705
New Zealand


For further information about this report please contact Kim Allen, Claire Harkess,Paul Merwood, Asif Quazi, Penny Stock, Manuila Tausi or Yuan Zhao.

For Immigration Research visit www.immigration.govt.nz/research

ISSN 1176-8479


Migration is vital for New Zealand's economic prosperity and growth. Permanent and temporary migrants invest their skills and capital in our economy, while visitors and international students to New Zealand bring significant revenue. Recent research from the Department of Labour estimated that the net inflows of overseas-born to New Zealand over recent history have added around $1.9 billion to the New Zealand economy per year.

Without migration New Zealand would be unable to maintain its population or fill skill shortages, even in a time of economic slowdown. In 2008/09, New Zealand lost 28,000 New Zealanders on a permanent and long term basis; this follows 35,000 lost in 2007/08. Without migration to balance these departures and with the ageing population, New Zealand's working-age population would experience ongoing decline. It is worth noting that over the 2001-2006 period, 60 percent of the growth in the working age population was from migration.

Over the last twelve months, the global economic slowdown has had a notable impact on migration and the trends reported here. Chapter 2 of this report provides an analysis of the situation. It documents the slowdown's effect on migration in OECD countries, the policy responses in light of the economic environment, and on resulting New Zealand migration trends.

This is the ninth Department of Labour Migration Trends and Outlook report. The report looks at the trends in temporary and permanent migration up to the end of the 2008/09 financial year. The information in it will be used by the Department to ensure future policy meets New Zealand's needs. The report will also be of interest to academics and the wider public with an interest in migration in New Zealand.

I congratulate Department of Labour staff for their continued excellent work in this field, and hope readers find our new 'Migration Trends and Outlook' report to be a valuable and useful source of information.

Christopher Blake
Secretary of Labour