02 October 2007

New Zealand immigration is great for the economy

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New Zealand immigration contributed NZ$3.3 billion (£1.2 billion) to the New Zealand economy in the year to June 30th 2006, according to the latest research released by the immigration department. The new figures reflect how important New Zealand immigration is to the country, which has a small population and skills shortages in many sectors.

New Zealand immigration minister David Cunliffe said: "Immigration ensures that our employers can access the much-needed skills they need for economic growth, and migrants also bring in links to export markets, investment, ideas and diversity."

"Migrants from all over the world play a vital role in the economic transformation and wonderful diversity of this country. In the long term that role is set to increase in the future as our need for skilled, talented people continues," he added.

The immigration department spent NZ$4.8 billion (£1.8 billion) on education, health and welfare to help New Zealand visa holders settle into their new lives. Mr Cunliffe explained: "The Settlement Strategy launched in July has enlisted the support of 16 central government agencies to ensure that these valuable migrants are given all the help they need to settle and contribute to New Zealand."

The cost of this support was significantly outweighed by the $8.1 billion (£3 billion) in taxes contributed by New Zealand visa holders. The study shows that this beneficial impact is up nearly 80 per cent from the last study in 2003.

"We are building up a picture of just how much immigration contributes to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders," said Cunliffe. "We know that in general employers are impressed with the performance of their migrant staff, and we know that most migrants are happy to be here, and say they would recommend New Zealand to friends and family overseas."

The report shows that 45 per cent of New Zealand visa holders go to Auckland initially but spread out across the country over time.

The research report, The Fiscal Impacts of Immigration part of a three-year series of work by the Department of Labour into the economic impacts of immigration

New Zealand welcomes skilled migrants: Anyone applying for a New Zealand visa should begin by taking the New Zealand Visa Bureau's online New Zealand visa assessment to see if they meet the basic legislative requirements.

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