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Immigration Blog


Migration Myth Busting

A few months ago I was approached as an ‘immigration expert’ by a local documentary maker, Nigel Latta, who does some very solid myth busting TV series, to take part in a programme he was making about immigration to New Zealand. I was at first a little reluctant and wanted ...


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Migration Myth Busting

A few months ago I was approached as an ‘immigration expert’ by a local documentary maker, Nigel Latta, who does some very solid myth busting TV series, to take part in a programme he was making about immigration to New Zealand. I was at first a little reluctant and wanted ...


Share this post

Migration Myth Busting

Posted by Iain on Sept. 2, 2016, 2:09 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle

A few months ago I was approached as an ‘immigration expert’ by a local documentary maker, Nigel Latta, who does some very solid myth busting TV series, to take part in a programme he was making about immigration to New Zealand.

I was at first a little reluctant and wanted to know what the angle was, given most migrant stories tend to err on the side of the negative - migrants steal jobs, migrants are to blame for expensive houses, migrants don’t like to assimilate, migrants are a net user of health and education services - all the usual garbage peddled by the ignorant and the politicians who pander to that sort of uninformed bigotry. The Americans have Donald Trump, the brits Nigel Lafarge, the French Marie Le pen and we have Winston Peters and his NZ First Party.

I was assured this was not going to be anything other than an exercise in trying to shine some light on these issues.

I agreed to take part. 

I have to say if you are living in New Zealand I urge you to watch it. It is on TV One next week but is also available On Demand’ and you can access it here. I am hoping it will soon also be on Youtube because it is, without any doubt, the most informed bit of grown up and dispassionate discussion on immigration to NZ that I have ever seen. It is well worth an hour of your time.

Without wishing to spoil the show, what is quite clear is that New Zealand’s immigration system is carefully targeted; skilled migrants don’t take jobs from locals, demand for English speaking skilled migrants is real and of benefit to NZ (and the migrant), they are not blame for rising house prices, they can be the victims of racism (but thankfully that is happening less and less) and New Zealand needs these skills because we simply are not producing skills what we need locally.

Oh, and the Chinese will assimilate if we let them.

It is often argued that migrants are a cost to the country but this programme quotes some very interesting statistics on the net dollar gain (or loss) of various migrants groups.

Topping the list with a net annual gain to the economy of around $5000 are the British. North Americans come in just behind them at a shade under $5000 per annum, third are ‘Asians’ at around $4500, Pacific Islanders around $2500 and who brings up the rear in terms of their net contribution to the local economy? New Zealanders. At around $950 per year.

Although not quoted I suspect, based on language and culture, that South Africans probably come in at the same level as North Americans.

Nigel Bickle, the head of Immigration New Zealand, does a very effective job of explaining why our system is designed the way it is and it might surprise many that our policies are based on solid research. I have to agree.

All those that think that perhaps we don’t need the migrants we let in or they do not add very much economically or socially should watch this very informative bit of television.

It’ll be a bit of surprise for anyone that has never been an immigrant but less so those of you who are.

Until next week

Iain MacLeod

Southern Man

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5 comments on this post
Sept. 2, 2016, 5:15 p.m. by ZULHEIRY FAHMIE ZULKIFLI

Iain, may I know the date and time? This is a must watch documentary!

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Sept. 2, 2016, 5:23 p.m. by Bryant Pettey

I wish you would cover some of the struggles from a migrant's perspective on immigrating to New Zealand. Although, I did my own due diligence on the obstacles of immigrating to New Zealand, I still had some surprises and realized that others were more unprepared than I was. Immigrating to NZ has been a life long dream of mine and FINALLY I was able to try to do so (as I came in through the back door by getting a permanent residence from Australia). However, I was met with slight contempt for being a foreigner and my international experience (working in US and Asia) was not at all appreciated. I am very well traveled (been to and/or lived/worked in almost 90 countries) and I felt that NZ was the least appreciative of international experience as a whole. I was very disappointed with how things turned out in NZ and my dream to live there withered in the several months I was there. I have since come to Sydney (which was originally only meant to be a spring board into NZ) and I have had a vastly different experience here where my international experience was not seen as a barrier or as a setback. I still love NZ and I think it is a beautiful country, scenically. But, my 16 year-long dream to live and settle in NZ is now no more. I hope to come back and spend time in the beautiful nature. But, I would definitely like to see more "dispassionate" information being disseminated about the realities of NZ so that people can make more informed decisions about giving up their lives to move to NZ.

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Sept. 7, 2016, 12:50 p.m. by Iain Macleod
Dear Bryant I do try very hard to paint all sides of the story but it is complicated and in 800 words often quite hard to do. I am not slow in writing about the trials and tribulations but have to be careful that we don't send the message that all migrants share the same experiences and outcomes of the same process. The point you are really making is that NZ is not for everyone and everyone is not for NZ even when on the face of it they appear on paper to be what NZ says it needs. I guess that could be said about any migrant destination. In no way suggesting your experience is not valid sometimes migrants have to make the leap and see what happens. Your research suggested you were employable, your experience once in a position to actually test that suggested you were not. Or at least not at the level you wanted to work. Unfortunately (and to an extent tragically) this process is ‘Darwinian’ and I warn everyone I consult with that it is a ruthless process and only the ‘fittest’ (in terms of employability) survive and achieve what they seek. In the context of our clients that we represent more than 95% get jobs they are both satisfied with and which meet the strict requirements of the rule book (market salaries, permanent, fulltime, high skilled and so on). Equally it is worth mentioning that some migrants have to settle for a rung or two drop down the career ladder for a year or two in order to ‘prove’ and establish themselves. Most who do that we represent are quickly back where they wanted to be within an acceptable space of time to them. Appreciate your comments
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Sept. 3, 2016, 1:14 a.m. by adrian

I am an avid reader of your blogs. Hopefully you can also discuss the recent struggles of indian migrants who are subject for deportations due to supplying false information of their applications by their agents.

Replies to this comment

Sept. 7, 2016, 12:51 p.m. by Iain Macleod
I think I will but you might not like what I have to say about the issue. :-)
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Sept. 5, 2016, 9:29 a.m. by Adrian Salverda

Very interesting indeed. Thanks for that Iain.
The annual net gains to the economy helped put things in perspective for me, and reminded me that the immigration process is a win for both parties (my opinion anyhow). Our move to New Zealand was by no means an easy one. We faced many obstacles (and still do), and it has been a very stressful process. However, my family and I have a much better quality of life since our arrival here, and in return, I am able to contribute to the economy by providing the country with a skill that is lacking. I am quite sure that the New Zealand immigration
process has many problems, but in comparison to the rest of the world, I think it is a very well structured and well designed system.

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Sept. 7, 2016, 11:53 a.m. by Marc Sparks

Very good show. Iain.

Especially emphasizing that the skilled migrant is usually tested by the market before being granted residence.

Nigel Bickle's comments too about family reunification policies being part of the attractive "Package" that NZ offers skilled migrants.

A pity that the point about Grand Parents, while not being economically active themselves, enabling their children to be more economically active by facilitating child care etc, was not made.

None the less, it certainly rattled Winston's cage.

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