Migration is an important element in the functioning of the world economy. As well as alleviating domestic labour shortages, migrant workers bring new knowledge and skills which can boost the productivity of the firms they work in, benefitting both firm owners and their fellow workers. However, some fear that immigrant workers may put downward pressure on the salaries of domestic workers, and that their ability to contribute may be limited due to language or cultural barriers.
This report examines how migrants contribute to productivity in New Zealand. Using administrative data on the flows of migrants into and out of New Zealand, visas, earnings and jobs between 2004 and 2019, the research explores how the relative productivity and wages of migrants differ – both from those of the New Zealand-born and across different groups of migrants.