Migration tweaks to affect migrant composition rather than the number

Sky-high net international migration has been a key driver of economic growth in the New Zealand economy over recent years.  Even though per-capita economic growth has been lacklustre, the additional demand caused by this migrant influx has propelled New Zealand’s headline GDP growth rate to levels that are the envy of other developed nations.  Against this backdrop, it was interesting to see the government announce policies that ultimately make it more difficult to migrate to New Zealand.

Claiming back workers from the “”lucky”” country

Throughout the course of 2014, the number of peoplecrossing the Tasman to live and work in New Zealand rose 19% from 2013. Prompting this change was a shift in the relative employment prospects betweeneach of the two countries.  This article looks into Australian labour marketdata to get a better idea of where employment is shrinking in Australia, andthus what types of jobseekers are likely to end up in New Zealand.

Migration shows New Zealand’s popularity

There has been a massive upswing in netmigration since mid-2012 as economic growth in New Zealand has accelerated. Since September 2012, New Zealand’s unemployment rate has dropped from 7.2% to6.0%.  Meanwhile, Australia’s unemployment rate has climbed from 5.1% in August2012 to 6.0%.  The stereotypical migration story has thus been one of NewZealanders returning home due to waning earning potential across the Tasman atthe same time as more job opportunities open up back here.  Does the migrationdata match up with this assumption, and can it give us a more in-depthunderstanding of the shift in migration flows?