Facilitating Migrant Entry to New Zealand

Published 2007. Contact: Astrid Podsiadlowski


The goal of this report is to provide and disseminate information specific to New Zealand that can be relevant for and used by the members of different ethnic communities and to gain insights into what to expect when looking for employment in New Zealand. Advice shall be given in relation to how migrants and people of ethnically diverse backgrounds can possibly relate to and deal with prevalent employment practices.


The following research activities took place as the foundation for the following information, conclusions and recommendations:

  • Extensive literature review
  • Organizational survey in the Wellington region with 100 private businesses
  • Expert interviews in Wellington and Auckland with 18 employers, human resource managers, service providers and recruitment agencies
  • Five focus groups with employed migrants and refugees
  • Various workshops and meetings


The processes used in recruitment and selection procedures may adversely affect culturally different people seeking employment which can be seen in over qualification and underemployment for migrants. There are overt and covert disadvantages culturally diverse people face throughout these procedures.

Particularly unique for New Zealand selection practices are the behavioural event interview technique, personal reference checks and personality tests. Knowing what to expect and being prepared for the specifics in recruiting and selecting might be one step (apart from many other barriers to overcome) into successfully finding meaningful employment.

Generally, there is an encompassing importance of getting known and establishing networks. Advice should be sought regarding the specifics in the application procedure.

Quite specific interpersonal skills are expected in interview situations which also mirror relevant selection criteria. The expectation of assimilation definitely poses a challenge to people whose unique cultural background should be acknowledged, and even considered as enrichment, to one’s own way of doing things.

Read the report "Facilitating Migrant Entry and Integration into the New Zealand Workforce" here.