Data Scientist - Identity

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Tēnei tūranga – About the role

The Data Scientist in the Identity Services Team is a technical position within MBIE, in the Immigration Risk & Border branch in Immigration New Zealand (INZ). The Immigration Risk and Border branch works to collaboratively to identify and mitigate risk early and to reduce harm to the integrity of the immigration system, system users, and New Zealand.

The data scientist role is responsible for the development, optimisation and continuous monitoring of the Identity Matching Engine, other identity systems, and its supporting business processes including:

  • Establishing and maintaining a framework for the management of identity matching engine settings.
  • Identifying business problems and/or business risks and developing innovative solutions for implementation.
  • Providing analysis of and recommendations for the maintenance, upgrade, or improvement of biometric systems.

The role will additionally support the wider Immigration Risk and Border teams in forecasting, quality assurance, and maintaining best practice in identity management and biometrics including:

  • Help monitor the stability of Identity systems and troubleshoot issues with the system as they arise.
  • Support quality assurance process of Identity teams.
  • Advance forecasting of identity resolution volumes.

The role will also work across all INZ/MBIE systems as and when required and will actively keep up to date with the latest developments within data science to ensure INZ uses the most appropriate tools and methods and incorporates these to existing processes within INZ.

Ngā herenga – Requirements of the role

Personal specifications

  • A demonstrable fluency and competency in the use of specialist data science and analytics environments, preferably both SQL and R.
  • Translating complex and technical information into information easily understood by non-technical staff.
  • Professionally active and aware of recent developments in methodologies and practices.
  • Interest in biographic matching, biometric matching, identity management or probabilistic record linkage.
  • Ability to build productive working relationships.
  • Ability to understand new information and create mental models of entity relationships quickly.
  • Excellent organisational and time management skills.

A proven track record and experience in:

  • Using advanced statistical analysis to conduct complex investigations of large amounts of data.
  • Working with multiple analytic approaches.
  • Using modelling or statistical analysis in a risk and / or operational research environment.
  • Delivering solutions that make sense to the organisation and are of a consistently high standard.


  • Hold a tertiary qualification to at least master's level, preferably in statistics, data science, econometrics, computer science, operations research, quantitative social-behavioural science, or a similar discipline or equivalent work experience.
  • Can gain and maintain a national security clearance as required.
  • Credit check required.
  • Be a NZ citizen or hold a permanent residence class visa. 

Takohanga tuhinga o mua – Key accountabilities and deliverables

Critical areas of success

The Data Scientist will be required to deliver results in the following areas:

  • Providing analysis of and recommendations for the maintenance, upgrade or improvement of the identity system.
  • Identifying business problems and/or business risks and developing innovative solutions for implementation.
  • Establishing and maintaining a framework for the management of identity matching engine settings.
  • Help develop and implement monitoring processes to assess the effectiveness and performance of the identity systems and supporting processes including quality assurance processes.
  • Help monitor the stability of IDme and trouble shoot issues with the system as they arise.
  • Advanced forecasting of manual identity resolution volumes.
  • Keep up to date with new developments in the fields of analytics and identity management (including biometric matching) and share this knowledge with other SMEs.
  • Become a subject matter expert for identity information held by Immigration New Zealand.
  • Manage all client material in a secure confidential manner.

Identify, prepare, and oversee the implementation of machine learning and data mining algorithms

  • Create, test, and apply new models.
  • Undertake complex statistical and pattern analysis.
  • Integrate and transform data.
  • Assist in identifying data sources or opportunities capable of adding value or being integrated into analysis and for use in tools and models.
  • Demonstrate a structured and pragmatic approach to analysis, including working with stakeholders to interpret and validate the results.

Relationship management

  • Work with stakeholders to understand business needs and interpret and validate business outcomes.
  • Build relationships with key staff to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge to conduct and contribute to identity management projects.
  • Work with system vendors, key IT/ICT and business staff to achieve the above critical areas of success.
  • Identify linkages with other systems and agencies that would increase the effectiveness of the identity systems.
  • Act as a conduit between technical data teams and the business.

Coaching and training

  • Provide mentoring, support, and technical advice to team members by developing and delivering training material and best practice guidelines.
  • Support the data warehouse in setting up reporting of identity information.
  • Ensuring quality and consistency of advice and practices in relation to their contribution to the team's work.

Wellbeing, health and safety

  • Displays commitment through actively supporting all safety and wellbeing initiatives.
  • Ensures own and others safety at all times.
  • Complies with relevant safety and wellbeing policies, procedures, safe systems of work and event reporting.
  • Reports all incidents/accidents, including near misses in a timely fashion.
  • Is involved in health and safety through participation and consultation.

Tō tūranga i roto i te Manatū – Your place in the Ministry

The Data Scientist position reports into the Principal Data Scientist within the Identity Services team in the Immigration Risk and Border branch. The branch sits within the Immigration New Zealand Group.

More information about MBIE’s structure

To mātou aronga – What we do for Aotearoa New Zealand

Hīkina Whakatutuki is the te reo Māori name for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Hīkina means to uplift. Whakatutuki means to move forward, to make successful. Our name speaks to our purpose, Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All.

To Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All, we put people at the heart of our mahi. Based on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, we are committed to upholding authentic partnerships with Māori.

As agile public service leaders, we use our breadth and experience to navigate the ever-changing world. We are service providers, policy makers, investors and regulators. We engage with diverse communities, businesses and regions. Our work touches on the daily lives of New Zealanders. We grow opportunities (Puāwai), guard and protect (Kaihāpai) and innovate and navigate towards a better future (Auaha).

Ngā matatau – Our competencies

Cultivates innovation We create new and better ways for the organisation to be successful by challenging the status quo generating new and creative ideas and translating them into workable solutions.

Nimble learning We are curious and actively learn through experimentation when tackling new problems by learning as we go when facing new situations and challenges.

Customer focus We build strong customer relationships and deliver customer-centric solutions by listening and gaining insights into the needs of the communities we serve and actively seeking and responding to feedback.

Decision quality We make quality and timely decisions that shape the future for our communities and keep the organisation moving forward by relying on an appropriate mix of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgement to make valid and reliable decisions.

Action oriented We step up, taking on new opportunities and tough challenges with purpose, urgency and discipline by taking responsibility, ownership and action on challenges, and being accountable for the results.

Collaborates We connect, working together to build partnerships with our communities, working collaboratively to meet shared objectives by gaining trust and support of others; actively seeking the views, experiences, and opinions of others and by working co-operatively with others across MBIE, the public sector and external stakeholder groups.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

As an agency of the public service, MBIE has a responsibility to contribute to the Crown meeting its obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Te Tiriti). Meeting our commitment to Te Tiriti will contribute towards us realising the overall aims of Te Ara Amiorangi – Our Path, Our Direction, and achieve the outcome of Growing New Zealand for All. The principles of Te Tiriti - including partnership, good faith, and active protection – are at the core of our work. MBIE is committed to delivering on our obligations as a Treaty partner with authenticity and integrity and to enable Māori interests. We are committed to ensuring that MBIE is well placed to meet our obligations under the Public Service Act 2020 (Te Ao Tūmatanui) to support the Crown in strengthening the Māori/Crown Relationship under the Treaty and to build MBIE’s capability, capacity and cultural intelligence to deliver this.

Mahi i roto i te Ratonga Tūmatanui – Working in the public service

Ka mahitahi mātou o te ratonga tūmatanui kia hei painga mō ngā tāngata o Aotearoa i āianei, ā, hei ngā rā ki tua hoki. He kawenga tino whaitake tā mātou hei tautoko i te Karauna i runga i āna hononga ki a ngāi Māori i raro i te Tiriti o Waitangi. Ka tautoko mātou i te kāwanatanga manapori. Ka whakakotahingia mātou e te wairua whakarato ki ō mātou hapori, ā, e arahina ana mātou e ngā mātāpono me ngā tikanga matua o te ratonga tūmatanui i roto i ā mātou mahi.

In the public service we work collectively to make a meaningful difference for New Zealanders now and in the future. We have an important role in supporting the Crown in its relationships with Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi. We support democratic government. We are unified by a spirit of service to our communities and guided by the core principles and values of the public service in our work.

What does it mean to work in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Public Service?(external link) — Te Kawa Mataaho The Public Service Commission

MBIE value: Māia - Bold & brave, Pae Kahurangi - Build our future, Mahi Tahi - Better together, Pono Me Te Tika - Own it