NZ 'needs more than high-skill migrants'
By Lincoln Tan
4:00 AM Tuesday Nov 3, 2009

A focus on attracting highly skilled immigrants will not significantly benefit the New Zealand economy, which needs immigrants with varying skill levels to grow, Department of Labour research has found.

The study, Economic Impacts of Immigration, issued yesterday, says its modelling experiments "do not support arguments in favour of an entirely high-skill focused or targeted immigration inflow".

Under the skilled migrant policy, would-be migrants are given additional points if they have skills to work in industries facing shortages.

"Such targeting does not appear to significantly increase the overall benefits to increased immigration flows. When an economy grows, labour is required at all levels," the report said.

In a scenario where the composition of additional labour was specified in favour of particular higher-skilled categories through policy change or external impetus, the study found that it resulted in GDP being just 0.1 per cent higher than when no specifications were made.

It also found that the benefit to the export sector was 8.3 per cent above baseline, and not as large as the 8.5 per cent recorded where the inflow was "demand determined" rather than policy specified.

More here.