Immigration settings


The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into what immigration policy settings would best facilitate New Zealand’s long-term economic growth and promote the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

We have released our preliminary findings and recommendations and are reviewing submissions and conducting further research and engagement to inform our final recommendations. We will present our final report to Government in April 2022. 

Immigration settings


  • Our brief
    3 May 2021
  • Issues paper
    21 June 2021
  • Submissions welcome on issues paper
  • Preliminary findings and recommendations
    8 November 2021
  • Submissions welcome on preliminary findings
  • Submissions close 24 December 2021
  • Final report
    30 April 2022

What are the key findings?

Immigration draft reportImmigrants make a positive contribution to New Zealand, bringing diversity and much-needed skills. As taxpayers, immigrants also have a positive impact on the Government’s finances.

Yet, New Zealand has struggled for a long time to absorb and accommodate more people well. Infrastructure and housing supply has not kept up with rapid population growth, creating pressures that affect the wellbeing of both migrants and New Zealanders.

What are the preliminary recommendations?

Immigration policy in the future needs to be better connected to our ability to supply housing and infrastructure, if it is to make the largest contribution to productivity and wellbeing. The Commission recommends that the Government:

  • Issue regular policy statements on immigration.
  • Change the law to require governments to give explicit consideration to how well New Zealand can successfully accommodate and settle new arrivals.
  • Explicitly acknowledge the Treaty of Waitangi interest in immigration policy.
  • Remove visa conditions that tie migrant workers to a specific employer.
  • Link the number of temporary visas with potential residence pathways to the number of residence visas on offer.

The Commission is exploring actions that could help improve the treatment of migrants in New Zealand and encourage their retention and successful settlement. These actions include:

  • Formally recognising efforts to learn te reo in decisions about residence or permanent residence.
  • Limiting rights to return for permanent residents who leave.

The Commission is also looking at options for managing volume pressures, and making the immigration system run better. Find out more, read:

Six research papers support this work. See the 'Research & Advice' section at the bottom of this page to download these papers.

What is the focus of this inquiry?

Immigration makes a significant contribution to Aotearoa. This inquiry is taking a system-wide view of immigration settings, including looking at its effects on productivity growth and wellbeing. This includes factors such as the impact of immigration on the labour market, housing and associated infrastructure, and the natural environment. Find out more, read our brief from the Minister of Immigration and Minister of Finance which guides the focus of this inquiry.