Migration Trends and Outlook 2010-2011
1.1 Purpose of this report
This report is the eleventh in an annual series that provides information about temporary and permanent migration trends to and from New Zealand.
This report updates trends up to the 2010/11 financial year.
This report is prepared for:
- policy-makers concerned with migration flows and their impacts
- the wider public with an interest in immigration policy and outcomes.
Immigration is important to New Zealand. Immigration helps address skill shortages, while visitors and international students bring in significant revenue. Immigration also helps to build New Zealand's workforce by bringing in capital, expertise, and international connections. Internationally, migrants are increasingly mobile and there is strong competition for skilled people in a global labour market. In 2010/11, as in recent years, there was a continued focus on skilled temporary and permanent migration meeting New Zealand's labour and skill shortages.
The 2008/09 economic slowdown and patchy economic recovery have had a significant impact on migration flows in New Zealand and internationally. The Canterbury earthquakes, the Japanese tsunami and the Chilean ash cloud also affected migration flows to and from New Zealand.
1.3 Immigration Act 2009
The new Immigration Act came into effect on 29 November 2010.
The Act introduced several changes to the immigration system including:
- a universal visa system that provides flexibility in managing people's travel to and stay in New Zealand (the terms 'permit' and 'exemption' are no longer used, the term 'instructions' is now used where 'policy' was used in an operational sense)
- interim visas that maintain an individual's lawful status in New Zealand while his or her new visa application is being considered
- the ability for the Department to collect and use specified biometric information
- the establishment of a single, independent appeals tribunal-the Immigration and Protection Tribunal-to replace the four appeal bodies which existed before 29 November 2010
- a new sponsorship system where sponsors of people coming to New Zealand are responsible for all aspects of maintenance, accommodation, and repatriation or deportation of the sponsored person, and have to meet specific eligibility criteria
- the narrowing of the 'reasonable excuse' defence for employing a foreign national not entitled to work in New Zealand, meaning employers need to check work entitlements more carefully than previously.
1.4 Temporary migration to New Zealand
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
- contribute to building strong international linkages, attracting foreign exchange earnings, and addressing skill shortages.
The temporary entry class instructions (that is, policies) are:
- Visitor Policy
- Work Policy
- Student Policy
- Limited Visa Policy.
1.4.1 Visitor Policy
Visitor Policy aims to facilitate the entry of genuine visitors to benefit New Zealand's economy.
Nationals from certain countries do not need to apply for a visa before travelling to New Zealand. They are generally granted a visa on their arrival if they meet certain requirements (for instance, they have an outward ticket, and do not represent a health or character risk). Other nationals must apply in advance to obtain a visa to travel to New Zealand. Australian nationals are granted a residence visa at the border in most circumstances.
In 2010/11, a change was made to Visitor Policy so that visiting academics coming to New Zealand to undertake certain academic activities at the invitation of recognised institutions could do so on a visitor's visa, rather than needing to obtain a work visa.
1.4.2 Work Policy
Work Policy aims to facilitate the access of employers and industry to global skills and knowledge, while complementing the Government's education, training, employment and economic development policies.
Work visas allow employers to recruit temporary workers from overseas to meet particular or seasonal labour shortages while protecting employment opportunities and conditions for New Zealand workers.
Various work visa categories allow people to enter New Zealand for work-related purposes. For example:
- the Essential Skills Policy facilitates the entry of people required on a temporary basis to fill shortages where suitable New Zealand citizens or residents are not available for the work offered
- the Working Holiday Schemes, which allow young people to work and study while in New Zealand if the primary intention for their visit is to holiday
- the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme, which allows horticulture and viticulture businesses to supplement their New Zealand workforce with non-New Zealand citizens or residents.
For more information on these policies, see Chapter 4.
1.4.3 Student Policy
Student Policy aims to facilitate the entry of genuine students with a focus on attracting and developing students who have the skills and talents New Zealand needs. It also aims to increase global connectedness, support sustainable growth of export education capability, earn foreign exchange, and strengthen New Zealand education while managing risk to New Zealand and maintaining social cohesion.
A non-New Zealand citizen or resident requires a student visa to attend a course of more than 3 months' duration (except for working holidaymakers with 6 months' study permission).
In 2010/11, the ability for temporary entry visa holders to study without having to apply for a student visa or a variation of conditions was extended. In addition, the length of time foreign fee-paying students were able to use their medical certificates increased to 36 months allowing a large number to complete their course without having to resubmit medical certificates.
1.4.4 Limited Visa Policy
Limited Visa Policy aims to facilitate the entry of visitors, students, and workers who seek to enter New Zealand temporarily for an express purpose only, and:
- who would not otherwise be accepted for temporary entry because of a risk that they might remain in New Zealand after their temporary visa expires; or
- who choose the limited visa as their preferred method of entry; or
- who have been offered employment to undertake seasonal work in the horticulture or viticulture industry for a recognised seasonal employer under the Recognised Seasonal Employer instructions.
1.5 Permanent migration to New Zealand
People who wish to migrate permanently to New Zealand must apply through the categories of the four residence streams of the New Zealand Residence Programme.
Residence provides a person with the right to live indefinitely in New Zealand with access to all the normal work, business, education, property, and health privileges and responsibilities available to New Zealanders.
Residence can be reviewed if an applicant is convicted of a serious crime or breaches residence conditions, or if Immigration New Zealand determines that any information on which it relied to determine residence is incorrect. The person may then be liable for deportation.
The four residence streams under the New Zealand Residence Programme are the:
- Skilled/Business Stream
- Uncapped Family Stream
- Capped Family Stream
- International/Humanitarian Stream.
Each residence stream has several categories and target ranges for the number of approved applicants (this includes the principal applicant and any secondary applicants, such as a partner and dependent children) (see Table 1.1). Cabinet regularly reviews the number of places available annually to migrants under the New Zealand Residence Programme. Before the 2011/12 year, the review was conducted annually, but from 2011/12 the New Zealand Residence Programme is planned for the next 3 years. The target range for the period 2011/12-2013/14 is 135,000-150,000 places.
New Zealand Residence
- Source: Department of Labour.
1.5.1 Skilled/Business Stream
The Skilled/Business Stream comprises the:
- Skilled Migrant Category
- Residence from Work Category
- Business Immigration Policy.
Skilled Migrant Category
The main category in the Skilled/Business Stream is the Skilled Migrant Category, 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.
Residence from Work Category
The Residence from Work Category is for people who have been on a Work to Residence visa for at least 2 years and who apply for residence through the Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Policy, the Long Term Skill Shortage List Policy, or the Talent (Arts, Culture, and Sports) Work Policy.
Business Immigration Policy
The Business Immigration Policy comprises the:
- Migrant Investment Policy
- Entrepreneur Category
- Employees of Relocating Business Policy.
Investor migrants need to actively contribute, directly or indirectly, to New Zealand businesses. The Migrant Investment Policy aims to attract financial capital to local firms or government by providing residence to people who wish to make a significant financial contribution to New Zealand's economy. It is divided into two categories:
- The Investor 1 Category requires a minimum investment of $10 million to be invested in New Zealand over 3 years. Applicants must meet health and character requirements and agree to spend a certain amount of time in New Zealand during the investment period.
- The Investor 2 Category requires a minimum of $1.5 million to be invested in New Zealand over 4 years. Applicants must also bring $1 million in settlement funds. They must either have an English-speaking background or show they are a competent speaker of English.
The Entrepreneur Category is for business migrants who can demonstrate they have successfully set up and operated a business in New Zealand. The Entrepreneur Plus Category provides a faster route to residence for people who could bring a greater level of investment and create job opportunities for New Zealanders.
The long-term business visa is a temporary work visa that provides people with the opportunity to set up a business in New Zealand. Holders of a long-term business visa who have managed their business successfully for a minimum of 2 years may apply for residence through the Entrepreneur Category.
The Employees of Relocating Business Policy is for key employees of relocating businesses.
For more information on this stream, see Appendix D, Table D.1.
1.5.2 Family streams
The family streams allow New Zealand citizens and residents to sponsor family members to live in New Zealand under certain circumstances. The streams are the:
- Uncapped Family Stream
- Capped Family Stream.
In 2010/11, the minimum income requirement for sponsors under the Family Parent residence category was increased. In addition, a change was made so that partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens or residents could resubmit previously submitted medical and police certificates for their residence application, within 24 months of the date of issue of the certificates.
For more information on these streams, see Appendix D, Table D.2.
1.5.3 International/Humanitarian Stream
The International/Humanitarian Stream enables New Zealand to fulfil its international obligations and commitments regarding refugees and people recognised as requiring protection. It also enables New Zealand to uphold its special relationship with Pacific nations through the Samoan Quota and Pacific Access Category. A small number of other specific policies make up the remainder of the stream.
In 2010/11, the minimum income requirement for applicants under the Samoan Quota and Pacific Access Category was increased.
For more information on this stream, see Appendix D, Table D.3.
1.6 Structure of this report
The report is structured as follows.
- Chapter 1 introduces New Zealand's immigration policies.
- Chapter 2 reports on the global outlook.
- Chapter 3 describes migration flows into and out of New Zealand.
- Chapter 4 describes the characteristics of temporary migrants granted student and work visas.
- Chapter 5 summarises the trends in residence approvals.
- Chapters 6-8 detail residence approvals through the four residence streams.
- Chapter 9 concludes the report.
- The appendices contain:
- information on recent immigration policy and legislative changes (Appendix A)
- information on the report's methodology (Appendix B)
- a glossary (Appendix C)
- a description of permanent residence and temporary categories (Appendices D-F)
- supplementary tables and analyses (Appendices G-W).
- A list of references is at the end of the report.