The wider wellbeing effects of immigration


New Zealand Productivity Commission

Date published

8 November 2021

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Many of the effects on immigration happen through the labour market – the jobs that migrants do, the skills and knowledge that they bring to the host country, the businesses they set up which provide greater product variety and competition, and their economic links to other countries. Yet other effects on productivity and wellbeing can be just as important.

This report will examine these wider impacts of immigration – wider because the channels of the influence occur outside the labour market. 

A key conclusion of this report is that most of the wider impacts of immigration that are negative for wellbeing arise when the rate of net migration exceeds the country’s ‘absorptive capacity’. This suggests that policies can maximise the benefits of migration by keeping the net flow of migrants within New Zealand’s absorptive capacity. This can include policies that increase absorptive capacity.

This report is a supplementary report to the Commission’s draft report for its immigration inquiry. It will be revised and updated to support the final report, which will be released in April 2022.

About the Commission's immigration inquiry.



Productivity growth

The goal of our research is to facilitate a move from an economy that grows by using more “inputs” (such as labour or natural resources), to one where productivity plays a greater role in driving economic growth – essentially, working smarter, with greater financial and knowledge capital employed per worker.

Our research explores a wide range of productivity issues: employment, firm dynamics, technology diffusion, innovation, regional development, spatial and public-sector productivity.

Working together

The commissioning of research and the practice of collaboration with others is important to us. It enables us to access subject/sector specialists and benefit from the cross-promotion of ideas and insights. You will find research from the Commission, as well as research we commissioned, below.

Strengthening learning

Our Economics & Research team is independently evaluated every two years to understand how to improve and enhance our impact. See the latest evaluation report and 2020 survey results here.


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