Migrants' settlement experiences and community attitudes toward migrants and immigration

We survey recent migrants about their experiences of life in New Zealand and report on their settlement outcomes. We also survey New Zealanders about their perceptions of migrants and immigration to better understand community attitudes.

Settlement experience of Pacific migrants in New Zealand

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research was commissioned to deliver research on the long-term settlement outcomes for Pacific migrants in New Zealand.

The study addressed 3 main topics:

  • what settlement outcomes have Pacific migrants experienced in New Zealand
  • what types of Pacific migrants have had more desirable settlement outcomes
  • what personal characteristics and early experiences in New Zealand are associated with successful labour market integration in the long term.

The research uses the Longitudinal Immigration Survey New Zealand (LISNZ) and Statistics NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure to focus on differences in outcomes between migrants from different Pacific countries who gained residence approval under different visa types.

Key findings

Pacific migrants interviewed in LISNZ faced a number of challenges to becoming successful and settled in New Zealand, including limited English and low education, which may have caught many in low-paying or part-time work and made them particularly vulnerable to economic conditions.

Although most reported good health and generally positive non-economic outcomes in New Zealand, a number of their outcomes on these dimensions grew worse over their first 3 years after residence approval. The reasons for these declines are not wholly clear and could be investigated in future research.

Findings from this research will contribute to building a picture of Pacific migrant settlement outcomes in New Zealand and challenges faced by these migrants.

Migrant survey report

This report presents the findings from the annual Migrant Survey, which is designed to measure migrants’ settlement experiences and how satisfied they are with life in New Zealand, as well as their labour market outcomes, including the prevalence of employment exploitation. In particular, the research aims to understand:

  • migrants’ working life
  • migrants’ sense of belonging to New Zealand
  • migrants’ overall satisfaction with living in New Zealand
  • migrants’ sense of being treated fairly by employers and in general.

The 2019 report summarises survey findings from 2015 to 2019.

Community survey report

The research reports below present the findings from the 2019 and 2021 administrations of the Community Survey which is carried out every 2 years.[footnote 1]

The primary objective of the Community Survey is to understand and monitor New Zealanders’ attitudes toward and perceptions of migrants and immigration, including:

  • overall attitudes toward migrants in New Zealand
  • perceptions of the contribution migrants make to New Zealand’s economy, productivity, culture, and society
  • attitudes towards immigration in general, and specifically its effect on New Zealand’s culture, crime, political balance, and unemployment.

The reports primarily summarise findings from the 2019 and 2021 surveys but also includes some trend information from previous 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2018 surveys.

  1. An extra implementation of the Community Survey was carried out in 2018 to gather information for the evaluation of the Welcoming Communities pilot.
Last updated: 25 February 2022