International Migration Outlook - New Zealand 2010/11
5. Evolution of the foreign-born and foreign populations
5.1 New Zealand’s population
Statistics New Zealand estimated the total resident population of New Zealand to be 4,405,300 as at 30 June 2011. This was an increase of 37,500 (0.9 percent) from an estimated 4,367,800 as at 30 June 2010. This population growth was mainly due to a natural increase (an excess of births over deaths) of 33,600. Net migration was 3,900 in 2010/11, compared with 16,500 in 2009/10.
New Zealand’s overseas-born population has continued to increase. In 2006, 23 percent of people usually living in New Zealand (879,543 people) had been born overseas compared with 20 percent in 2001 and 18 percent in 1996.
Statistics New Zealand provides information on the regions where migrants were born. Table 13 shows that the percentage of overseas-born people from the United Kingdom and Ireland (New Zealand’s most significant source of migrants historically) has decreased over 10 years (from 38 percent in 1996 to 29 percent in 2006). In contrast, the percentage of overseas-born people from Asia has increased from 19 percent in 1996 to 29 percent in 2006, equalling the percentage born in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
|Birthplace (overseas)||Census year|
|UK and Ireland||230,049||38||225,120||32||251,688||29|
|Europe (excl. UK and Ireland)||55,599||9||59,550||9||68,070||8|
Source: Census of Population and Dwellings, Statistics New Zealand.
5.2 Characteristics of overseas-born people
More new migrants were in New Zealand at the 2006 Census than at the 2001 Census. In 2006, almost one-third (32 percent) of people born overseas had been living in New Zealand for 4 years or less compared with 27 percent in 2001. In 2006, one-third of those born overseas (33 percent) had been living in New Zealand for 20 years or more.
The median age of people arriving to live in New Zealand differs by region of birth. In 2006, the median age of people born in both Asia and the Pacific Islands who had been living in New Zealand for 4 years or less was 26.2 years. Those from the United Kingdom and Ireland tended to be older, with a median age of 32.4 years. This compares with a national median age of 35.6 years for all males and 37.9 years for all females as at 30 June 2011. The overall median age increased 1.8 years for males and 2.5 years for females from 2000/01 to 2010/11. On average, overseas-born women have lower fertility rates than New Zealand–born women (see Table 14).
|Age group (years)||New Zealand– born||Overseas-born||Not elsewhere included*|
|65 and over||3.00||2.73||3.12|
Note: Does not include people who objected to answering the live birth questions.
* Includes unidentifiable, outside scope, and not stated.
† Age standardised rate = Σ(ri Pi)/ΣPi.
Source: 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings, Statistics New Zealand.
5.3 Employment status of overseas-born population
This section uses survey data to estimate the labour force status of overseas-born residents.
Household Labour Force Survey
The Household Labour Force Survey, which is published by Statistics New Zealand, is the main source of data on labour force status in New Zealand. The Household Labour Force Survey surveys approximately 15,000 households or 30,000 people each quarter. The data used in this section relates to those people who were not born in New Zealand and have resided in New Zealand for up to 10 years (‘recent migrants’).
The unemployment rate for people not born in New Zealand who have resided here for up to 10 years was 8.0 percent in 2010/11, higher than the national annual average unemployment rate of 6.5 percent. The rate for the overseas-born group was 1.2 percentage points lower than in the previous year.
The labour force participation rate for those who have resided here for up to 10 years was 69.8 percent in 2010/11, above the national annual average rate of 68.3 percent. The participation rate for recent migrants rose from 67.8 percent 2006/07 to 69.8 percent in 2010/11.
|Year||Length of time in New Zealand||National average|
|1–2 years||3–5 years||6–10 years||0–10 years|
Note: The participation rate is the proportion of the working age population in the labour force.
Source: Household Labour Force Survey, Statistics New Zealand.
Over the past year, the unemployment rate for those who have resided in New Zealand up to 10 years has eased slightly, particularly for those who resided in New Zealand for 6–10 years (a drop of 1.9 percentage points). The overall unemployment rate fell slightly from 6.6 percent to 6.5 percent.
|Length of time in New Zealand||National|
|1–2 years||3–5 years||6–10 years||0–10 years|
Note: The unemployment rate is the proportion of the labour force that is unemployed.
Source: Household Labour Force Survey, Statistics New Zealand.
Longitudinal Immigration Survey: New Zealand
The Longitudinal Immigration Survey: New Zealand (LisNZ) surveys migrants aged 16 years and over who were approved for permanent residence in New Zealand from 1 November 2004 to 31 October 2005. The survey is conducted in three waves with migrants being interviewed 6 months (wave 1), 18 months (wave 2), and 36 months (wave 3) after they have taken up permanent residence in New Zealand.
Wave 1 interviews were conducted from 1 May 2005 to 30 April 2007, wave 2 interviews from 1 May 2006 to 30 April 2008, and wave 3 interviews from 1 November 2007 to 31 October 2009. The number of interviewed respondents (both onshore and offshore applicants) was 7,137 for wave 1; 6,156 for wave 2; and 5,144 for wave 3.
LisNZ provides information on migrants’ labour market activity at each wave of the survey. Labour market activity is measured by categorising migrants as employed, not employed but seeking work, or not employed and not seeking work. Overall, 75.7 percent of migrants were employed at wave 3 compared with 72.1 percent at wave 1.
Table 17 shows the change in migrants’ labour market status between wave 1 and wave 3 by immigration category. Between wave 1 and wave 3, 8.4 percent of migrants moved into employment and 5.3 percent moved out of employment. Over half of the migrants looking for work at wave 1 were employed at wave 2. Skilled secondary migrants showed the largest movement into employment between waves (16 percent).
|Approval category||Employed in wave 3||Not employed in wave 3||Total|
|Employed in both waves||Not employed in wave 1, employed in wave 3||Employed in wave 1, not employed in wave 3||Not employed in either wave|
|Row percent (%)|
* Includes family parent migrants.
† Excludes ‘don’t know’ responses and response refusals.
Source: Statistics New Zealand. 2010. ‘Longitudinal Immigration Survey: New Zealand – Wave 3.’ Hot off the Press. Table 1.Wellington: Statistics New Zealand. (accessed 27 September 2010).
5.4 Occupations of Skilled Migrant Category principal applicants
In total, 8,931 SMC principal applicants (90 percent) were awarded points for a job or job offer in New Zealand (78 percent for their current employment and 12 percent for an offer of skilled employment). This proportion is higher than the 81 percent who were awarded points for a job or job offer in New Zealand in 2009/10.
In 2010/11, 8,372 principal applicants (85 percent) were approved onshore. Of the onshore applicants, 97 percent had a job offer or current skilled employment in New Zealand. The remaining 1,531 principal applicants were approved offshore (15 percent), and 52 percent had a job offer or current skilled employment in New Zealand.
Most principal applicants (70 percent) gained points in 2010/11 for relevant work experience. Almost half (47 percent) gained bonus points for New Zealand work experience in 2010/11. Sixteen percent gained additional bonus points for work experience in an identified growth area or an area of absolute skills shortage.
International students who gain a New Zealand qualification can be awarded bonus points through the SMC. In 2010/11, 73 percent of SMC principal applicants gained points for their qualifications (67 percent with a basic qualification and 6 percent with a postgraduate qualification).
Occupational data is recorded for SMC principal applicants approved with a job or job offer. Data is captured on the applicant’s main occupation (that is, their occupation during the 12-month period before residence). The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations is used to classify occupation data. Table 18 shows the most common occupational groups for SMC principal applicants approved in 2010/11.
|Major group†||Number||Percent (%)|
|Technicians and Trades Workers||3,265||33|
|Clerical and Administrative Workers||312||3|
|Community and Personal Service Workers||249||3|
* Main occupation is the job the applicant spent the most hours doing in the past 12 months.
† Major group is coded to the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).
‡ This table includes all principal applicants. Applicants whose occupation was not coded to ANZSCO or were classified as ‘responses outside of the current definition of the labour force’ are excluded from the total.
The SMC attracted skilled migrants in a broad range of sectors in 2010/11. Some of the most common occupations were in health (nurses and generalist medical practitioners), hospitality (chefs, restaurant managers, bakers, and pastry cooks), retail managers, and ICT (ICT support technicians, and software and applications programmers).
5.5 Labour market–tested work visa holders
The Essential Skills Policy and the horticulture and viticulture seasonal work policies are labour market–tested work policies that allow New Zealand employers to recruit workers from overseas to meet shortages that cannot be met from within New Zealand. These policies protect employment opportunities for New Zealand citizens and residents.
Essential Skills Policy
In 2010/11, 22,342 people were approved for working in New Zealand under the Essential Skills Policy, down 3 percent from 22,946 in 2009/10. This fall reflects labour-market conditions and lower demand by employers for labour, a trend that began with the onset of the recession in late 2008. Although the number of temporary workers from the United Kingdom fell (down 3 percent from 2009/10), it still remained the largest source country (3,203 people) in 2010/11. The next largest source countries were the Philippines (2,831 people), Fiji (1,854 people), and India (1,842 people) in 2010/11 (see Figure 8).
The number of approved temporary workers from South Africa had the largest absolute decrease from 2009/10 to 2010/11 (down 208 people). A wide variety of occupations were recorded for people approved under the Essential Skills Policy in 2010/11. The most common occupations were chef (9 percent), dairy cattle farmer (5 percent), aged or disabled carer (3 percent), and café or restaurant manager (3 percent).
Figure 7: Top source countries of Essential Skills Policy approvals, 2008/09-2010/11
Source: Department of Labour.
Horticulture and viticulture seasonal work policies
In 2010/11, 8,469 people were approved for a work visa under the horticulture and viticulture seasonal work policies, up 2 percent from 8,323 in 2009/10. Of those approved in 2010/11, most were approved under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme.
Of those approved in 2010/11, 76 percent were from three Pacific nations and two Asian nations. These five nations were Vanuatu (27 percent), Tonga (16 percent), Samoa (14 percent), Malaysia (10 percent), and Thailand (9 percent).
 Reflecting the large proportion of international students.
 The target population excluded refugees, temporary visitors, and all people from Australia, Niue, the Cook Islands, and Tokelau. Migrants from Australia were excluded because they are entitled to enter New Zealand without applying for a residence visa or permit. Migrants from Niue, the Cook Islands, and Tokelau were excluded because they have automatic rights to New Zealand citizenship.
 The labour market test requires New Zealand employers to show that they have made genuine efforts to attract and recruit suitable New Zealand citizens or residents to fill a position, but have been unable to find such people within New Zealand.
 This analysis includes the Approved in Principle, Essential Skills Policy, Essential Skills Policy—Skill Level 1, Specialist Skills Policy, and the former General Work Policy.
 This analysis includes the Recognised Seasonal Employer; Working Holidaymaker Extension; Supplementary Seasonal Employment; and Transitional Recognised Seasonal Employer policies.