Migration Trends 2006/07
Introduction and Background
This report is the seventh in a series produced annually to provide background information about trends in temporary and permanent migration. The report is prepared for two audiences:
- Policymakers concerned with migration flows and their impact.
- The wider public and those with an interest in immigration policy and outcomes.
Immigration trends in this format have been monitored since July 2000. These reports now constitute a time series that enables comparisons of recent immigration patterns with those identified in previous years.
The report is presented as follows:
- Chapter 1 is an introduction to New Zealand’s immigration policies.
- Chapter 2 describes migration flows into and out of New Zealand.
- Chapter 3 describes the characteristics of people granted student and work permits.
- Chapter 4 summarises permanent residence approval trends.
- Chapters 5 to 7 detail residence approvals through the three residence streams.
- Chapter 8 discusses the movement patterns of permanent migrants.
- Chapter 9 summarises the data and provides conclusions.
- Appendices A to O contain information on immigration policies, as well as supplementary tables and analyses.
Immigration provides significant benefit to New Zealand’s economic development. The temporary and permanent entry of citizens from other countries helps to attract global talent to address skill shortages, and brings capital, expertise and international connections to build New Zealand’s workforce.
Internationally, the nature of migration is changing. Migrants are increasingly mobile, and New Zealand has seen substantial growth in the numbers of temporary entrants coming to visit, study and work. New Zealand faces strong competition for skilled people in a global labour market and is one of many countries with active immigration policies. New Zealand citizens also play a crucial role in our migration patterns, with increasing numbers taking part in the opportunities offered by other economies.
In 2006/07, there has been a strong focus on meeting New Zealand’s labour shortages. This focus is predominantly on New Zealand’s acute skills needs. However, there is increasing demand for immigration to help alleviate New Zealand’s labour shortages across a broad skill spectrum. For example, the high demand for seasonal labour in the horticulture and viticulture sectors saw the introduction of the Recognised Seasonal Employer policy in April 2007.
Immigration Change Programme
In 2006, the Department of Labour began a programme of work that will bring about significant changes to New Zealand’s immigration system. The Immigration Change Programme is being implemented to ensure immigration continues to maximise the benefits of immigration for New Zealand while maintaining security and minimising risk.
The Immigration Change Programme is underpinned by three specific elements: legislative reform, a review of key aspects of New Zealand’s immigration policy, and business changes within the Department of Labour. Over the past year, there have been some critical developments in all three of these elements.
Immigration Act Review
A comprehensive review of the Immigration Act 1987 is being undertaken to ensure that New Zealand’s immigration legislation facilitates the entry of the people New Zealand needs, while protecting New Zealand’s border effectively. The objectives of the review are to:
- ensure New Zealand’s interests are protected and advanced
- ensure compliance with international obligations
- establish fair, firm and fast decision-making processes
- modernise and simplify the legislation.
During 2006, the Department of Labour conducted extensive public consultation to inform the review. A new Immigration Bill was introduced into Parliament in August 2007. Once the Bill has been reported back to Parliament, it must go through a second and third reading. Following the passing of the new Act on its third reading, 12 months will pass before the Act comes into force.
Immigration Policy Framework
A range of work is being done to ensure that immigration policy continues to meet New Zealand’s needs. The Immigration Policy Framework is based on research into New Zealand’s future migration requirements, who will want to come to New Zealand, how this can be influenced and how the impacts of migration can be managed. Since its completion in late 2006, the Immigration Policy Framework has provided the conceptual foundation for ongoing policy development.
Immigration Business Transformation
A new model for the delivery of immigration services is needed to maximise the potential arising from the new immigration legislation and policy development. In November 2006, the Department of Labour was directed to develop the business case for a new business model for immigration services. This includes the provision of:
- a single, global immigration information and communications technology system that provides a single view of all interactions with an individual and the capacity to store and use biometric data
- greater investment in entry prevention and identity management
- increased resource to improve fraud detection, prosecution and removal
- a better business configuration, through a move to greater centralisation of decision-making in New Zealand.
Temporary entry policy
The objectives of New Zealand's temporary entry policy are to facilitate the entry of genuine visitors, students and temporary workers, while managing the associated risks, and to contribute to building strong international links, attracting foreign exchange earnings and addressing skills shortages. Work to Residence policies are temporary policies that provide a pathway to permanent residence in New Zealand. There are currently five Work to Residence policies, each with a corresponding permanent residence category. Appendix B provides a breakdown of temporary entry policies.
Permanent residence policy
People who wish to migrate permanently to New Zealand must apply through one of the three residence streams of the New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP). The streams are: Skilled/Business, Family Sponsored and International/Humanitarian. Each stream has a number of categories and a separate approval limit. Table 1.1 details the approval limits for 2006/07.
|Stream||Min||Max||% of NZRP|
The Skilled/Business Stream includes the Skilled Migrant Category, the Residence from Work categories and the Business categories. The main category in this stream is the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), a points-based policy that allows people to gain permanent residence in New Zealand if they have the skills, qualifications and experience to contribute to New Zealand economically and socially.
A person who is interested in applying for residence through the SMC must first submit an expression of interest (EOI). Points are awarded for skilled employment, work experience, qualifications and age. In addition, applicants can claim bonus points for other factors, including having work experience or qualifications in an area of absolute skill shortage, employment outside of Auckland, or having a New Zealand qualification. An EOI is entered into a pool if the applicant meets prerequisites for health, character and English language proficiency, and has a point score of 100 or more.
The Business categories include Investor, Entrepreneur and Employees of Relocating Businesses categories. In November 2007, the 2005 Investor Category was replaced by the Active Investor Migrant policy. Under the new policy, investor migrants must actively contribute to New Zealand businesses, directly or indirectly. The new policy is segmented into three sub-categories on the basis of the migrant’s potential contribution and the assessed level of risk. The Entrepreneur Category is for business migrants who can demonstrate they have successfully set up and operated a business in New Zealand. Chapter 5 discusses the separate policies within the Skilled/Business Stream.
Family Sponsored Stream
This stream includes spouses and partners, dependent children, parents, adult siblings and adult children of New Zealand residents and citizens. The Family Sponsored Stream allows New Zealand citizens and residents to sponsor family members to live in New Zealand under some circumstances. Under Partnership policy (a category of the Family Sponsored Stream), a couple must provide evidence that their relationship is genuine and stable. Applicants must have been living in a genuine and stable partnership for 12 months or more at the time they lodge their application.
Sponsors of less dependent relatives (parents, siblings and adult children) must have held New Zealand residence for at least three years. Sponsors must sign a declaration that they will provide accommodation and financial support for the first two years of the sponsored migrant’s residence in New Zealand.
From July 2007, there has been no cap on the number of places available in the NZRP for partners and dependent children of New Zealand residents or citizens. These categories are now approved through a new, separate stream to the Family Sponsored Stream. Separate limits are in place for the number of parents, siblings and adult children of New Zealand sponsors.
In November 2007, a number of new provisions came into effect for family sponsored migrants. There will be a new visitor’s visa for parents and grandparents visiting family in New Zealand, which allows the holder to make multiple visits over a three-year period. Other changes include caps on the number of places available to parents, adult children and siblings; strengthened character requirements for sponsoring a partner; and a minimum income requirement for those sponsoring parents.
This stream enables New Zealand to fulfil its international obligations and commitments regarding refugees and its special relationship with some Pacific nations, as expressed by the Pacific Access Category and the Samoan Quota. Details of the quotas and categories in this stream are given in Appendix B.
 The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) policy is designed to help meet the labour requirements of the New Zealand horticulture and viticulture industries. The RSE policy prioritises the employment of New Zealanders first, and then allows for the recruitment of Pacific Island Forum nationals, and finally recruitment from elsewhere in the world.
 Since July 2007, partners and dependent children have been approved through a new, uncapped stream. Parents, siblings and adult children continue to be approved through the Family Sponsored Stream.