The Labour Market Adjustment of Immigrants in New Zealand

This paper uses data from the 1997-2007 New Zealand Income Survey to examine the economic performance of immigrants in New Zealand. Specifically, we use a synthetic cohort approach to examine how employment rates, hourly wages, annual income and occupations for immigrants compare to those for the NZ-born.

We estimate the time pattern of adaptation in a semi-parametric manner for immigrants from different birth regions and with different qualifications. We also examine the possible impact of immigrants getting different returns to qualifications.

The pattern of entry disadvantage followed by subsequent relative improvement is more pronounced for employment rates than for wage rates or occupational rank. It is also more pronounced for immigrants born in Asia. Outcomes for immigrants from the Pacific Islands never catch up with the NZ-born.