Working conditions of migrant employees (2021 and 2022)

This report presents selected findings from the 2021 and 2022 Migrant Surveys, describing working conditions experienced by migrant employees.

Male migrant worker preparing meat in a commercial kitchen
In this section

Executive summary

This report analyses data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment’s (MBIE’s) Migrant Surveys 2021 and 2022 for respondents who were waged or salaried employees. The analysis aims to identify the extent to which migrant employees are experiencing adverse working conditions, and the particular migrant groups that are more at risk.


Since 2009, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has undertaken an annual survey of migrants as part of the Immigration Survey Monitoring Programme. The purpose of the Migrant Survey is to build an evidence base about migrants’ settlement experiences and labour market outcomes.

Survey background

The target population for the 2021 and 2022 Migrant Surveys was migrants who met the following criteria at the date of sample selection.

Survey questions used in this analysis

In addition to using demographic information and data on job characteristics (occupation, industry, nationality, English conversation capability, highest qualification, gender, and number of jobs), the analysis in this report focuses on migrant employees’ responses to the following survey questions.

New Zealand’s migrant worker population is diverse and well educated

This section outlines the composition of the migrant worker sample, as well as some high-level survey results.

Most migrant workers receive their minimum employment entitlements and have good working conditions, but some groups are more vulnerable in their jobs

This section presents survey results by demographic group, highlighting groups who are more or less likely to experience adverse working conditions.

Survey results inform work to prevent migrant exploitation

Results from the Migrant Survey are an integral part of MBIE’s programme of work to prevent migrant worker exploitation. The Migrant Survey enables MBIE and other government agencies to identify areas of vulnerability in migrant working environments and develop programmes to evaluate government policies and procedure.


This document contains supplementary data tables which complement the report entitled “Working conditions of migrant employees (2021 & 2022)”. Due to rounding and questions where participants can provide multiple answers, totals do not always add to 100%.