Life In New Zealand: Settlement Experiences of Skilled Migrants - Results from the 2005 Survey
The Settlement Experiences Feedback Survey (SEFS) gains feedback from migrants about their settlement experiences and outcomes in New Zealand (12 months after residence approval).
These migrants were approved for residence through the Skilled and Business Streams from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2004. Therefore, these migrants were surveyed from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2005.
The SEFS survey captures a range of information relating to migrants’ initial settlement in New Zealand such as employment and income, housing, children’s schooling and satisfaction with New Zealand; their experiences interacting with Immigration New Zealand (INZ); and any areas they could have used additional settlement assistance.
This survey achieved a 42 percent response rate and was over-represented by migrants approved for residence onshore.
- 94 percent of principal and 67 percent of secondary applicants were working for pay or profit.
- Of the principal applicants who applied for residence through the skilled migrant category, 98 percent from both UK/Ireland and Asia, and 96 percent from ESANA were working for pay or profit.
- 33 percent of principal and 24 percent of secondary applicants were classified as professionals.
- 25 percent of migrants were employed in health and community services.
- 85 percent of migrants had no difficulty in finding work in New Zealand.
- 78 percent of principal and 72 percent of secondary applicants were very satisfied/satisfied with their main job.
- 56 percent of principal and 16 percent of secondary applicants had an annual income of over $50,001.
- 65 percent of principal applicants from UK/Ireland had an income of over $50,001 from their main job, followed by 52 percent from ESANA, 24 percent from Other and 19 percent from Asia.
- Conversely, 60 percent of principal applicants from Asia had an annual income of under $40,000, followed by 37 percent from Other, 25 percent from ESANA and 15 percent from UK/Ireland.
- 46 percent of migrants lived in the Auckland region.
- Of the migrants who lived in the Auckland region, 62 percent were from Asia, 49 percent from ESANA and 39 percent from UK/Ireland.
- 20 percent of migrants had difficulty finding suitable housing.
- 80 percent of migrants were very satisfied/satisfied with the quality of housing in New Zealand.
- 85 percent of migrants were very satisfied/satisfied with their children’s school.
Further education and training
- 44 percent of migrants had taken up study or training since taking up residence in New Zealand.
- Of the migrants who had taken up study, 56 percent were from Asia, 42 percent from ESANA and 39 percent from UK/Ireland.
- 35 percent of principal applicants studied to get their qualification upgraded, and 43 percent of secondary applicants studied to get a job or a better job.
- A small proportion, 12 percent of principal and 19 percent of secondary applicants, studied to improve their English language skills.
Satisfaction with the immigration service in New Zealand
- 40 percent of migrants would have liked INZ to provide them with more detail on health services.
Access to services
- Migrants from all regions needed help with the tax system, getting a driver licence and finding a GP.
Living in New Zealand
- At the time of the obtained residence, 60 percent of migrants planned to live in New Zealand for at least 5 years.
- After 12 months, 71 percent of migrants planned to live in New Zealand for at least 5 years.
- The majority of migrants from UK/Ireland, ESANA and Asia liked New Zealand’s climate or natural beauty and liked the friendly lifestyle or relaxed pace of life.
- Most migrants from UK/Ireland liked New Zealand because of the recreation and leisure activities and the ability to achieve a desired lifestyle.
- Migrants from ESANA liked New Zealand because of the safety from crime.
- Migrants from Asia liked New Zealand for its small population.
- Half of migrants from UK/Ireland, ESANA and Other disliked the distance of New Zealand from their home or family.
- About two-thirds of migrants from Asia disliked the high tax rates.
- 88 percent of migrants were very satisfied / satisfied with living in New Zealand.
- 89 percent would recommend New Zealand to others as place to come and live.
Overall, the settlement outcomes for skilled migrants are very good. Migrants are not a homogenous group. The SEFS survey shows that settlement experiences and needs differ by principal and secondary applicants, as well as by region of origin. Most principal applicants were employed at the time of the survey – a key determinant for positive settlement. Despite a few areas of dissatisfaction, skilled migrants were predominantly pleased with life in New Zealand and planned to live in New Zealand for at least five years or more.