- Immigration is not likely to be the solution nor the cause of the productivity challenges facing Aotearoa New Zealand.
- The relationship between productivity and immigration requires a balance of trade-offs between government objectives, and a consideration of short‑run and long‑run impacts.
- Immigration has played an important part in New Zealand’s economic development.
- On average, immigration is not driving down wages nor displacing local workers.
- The use of Labour Market Tests, Skill Shortage Lists and tying migrants to employers can suppress wages and productivity.
- The supply of infrastructure is less responsive to population growth now than in the past.
At the request of the referring Ministers, the Productivity Commission undertook its inquiry into what immigration policy settings would best facilitate New Zealand’s long-term economic growth and promote the wellbeing of New Zealanders.
The Commission published its preliminary findings and recommendations in November 2021. They created considerable interest and feedback, representing a range of views. The final report was published in May 2022 and benefitted from this feedback, as well as from 181 submissions and over 65 meetings with individuals, government and non-government organisations and firms throughout New Zealand.
Our final report Immigration - Fit for the future makes 32 findings and 24 recommendations to Government.
What did the inquiry find?
What does the Commission recommend?
Successive governments need a robust and transparent way to balance the longer-term benefits of immigration policy with short-term pressures and challenges. Alongside this, the focus of immigration policy should be on selecting migrants who can make the biggest contribution to the economy and ensuring that New Zealand remains attractive to skilled migrants as the global competition for talent intensifies. The Commission recommends the Government:
- Publish an Immigration Government Policy Statement (GPS) to clarify how immigration will be managed and connected to other government objectives, including what investments will be made in absorptive capacity.
- Create stronger links with education and training policies through the GPS and by requiring Workforce Development Councils to report on how demand for migrant labour and skill gaps inform their training priorities.
- Engage with Māori in good faith on how to reflect Te Tiriti o Waitangi in immigration policy and institutions.
- Increase funding for iwi involvement and partnership in the expansion of the Welcoming Communities initiative.
- Reduce the use of Skills Shortage Lists for immigration purposes and encourage wages to reflect scarcity.
- Regularly review visa categories and the residency points system to ensure they sufficiently prioritise high skilled migrants.
- Cease the practice of tying migrants to a single employer.
- Provide additional funding for the Labour Inspectorate to support labour market regulation, the proposed accredited employer scheme, and the integrity of the immigration system.
Our final report presents 24 recommendations to Government. Find out more, download the following:
The interim response from Government on 3 April highlights general agreement with the recommendations made in the Commission’s final report.
The response summarises the major reforms being undertaken to drive a more coordinated, connected and longer-term approach to workforce planning and development, as well as the further work that’s needed based on the Commission’s recommendations.
“I thank the Commission for their work and valuable recommendations which largely align with the Government’s objectives to get the immigration settings right for the long term as we transition to a high-productivity, high-wage, low-emissions economy.”
Minister Grant Robertson
The Commission is an independent research and advisory body that does not have a mandate to implement any policies or programmes. However, by carrying out high quality, innovative research and evidence-based inquiries, we aim to influence and inform policy change and decision making.
See Government’s response here.