New Zealand benefits from its well-developed comprehensive approach to integration. New Zealand is one of the leading countries in the MIPEX ‘Top Ten’, scoring 77 on the MIPEX 100-point scale. In the Top Ten MIPEX countries, integration works well as a two-way process, as citizens and newcomers generally enjoy equal rights, opportunities and security.
Among the traditional destination countries, New Zealand leads alongside Canada and ahead of Australia and the US. Compared to all other developed countries, New Zealand’s integration policies are above average and slightly or full favourable in nearly all areas of life.
For example, newcomers to New Zealand benefit from a clear and favourable path to political participation, citizenship, non-discrimination and health equity. Many immigrants and their families are eligible to arrive as or later become permanent residents and then full citizens. Already after one year of permanent residence, they can also vote in all elections in this inclusive democracy and confident country of immigration. Newcomers and immigrant communities receive support in many areas of life from language learning to education, health, citizenship and voting. New Zealand’s policies are one of the main factors driving its traditionally high levels of political participation, naturalisation, belonging and public acceptance.
To improve, New Zealand can still be more inclusive of newcomers, more ambitious on multiculturalism and more effective in access to services. Newcomer migrants, especially temporary residents, face delays to access general job, training and social support. New Zealand's standards on multiculturalism and non-discrimination could be better targeted to the needs of immigrant communities.
New Zealand’s comprehensive approach to integration matters because the way that governments treat immigrants strongly influences how well immigrants and the public interact and think of each other. Drawing on 130 independent scientific studies using MIPEX, integration policies emerge as one of the strongest factors shaping this two-way process: not only the public’s willingness to accept and interact with immigrants, but also immigrants’ own attitudes and integration outcomes.
For public opinion, granting equal rights, opportunities and security encourages the public to see integration as an opportunity and to treat immigrants as their equals, neighbours and potential citizens. Under inclusive policies like New Zealand's, both immigrants and the public are more likely to interact together and feel comfortable with each other as equals.
For immigrants, a country’s approach to integration also shapes how well immigrants think and feel about their new home country. Integration policies are also one of strongest factors shaping immigrants’ own attitudes, sense of belonging, political participation and even their health in their new home country.
- Labour market mobility: Halfway favourable: Immigrant workers and their families who move to New Zealand do not all immediately enjoy the same access, general support, and rights as native workers. Newcomers looking for jobs or training can benefit from targeted support, but limited general support and benefits, which may delay their full integration on the labour market in New Zealand.
- Family reunification: Slightly favourable: Immigrants’ chances to start their life in New Zealand with their family are only slightly favourable and less attractive than in Canada. Reunited families in New Zealand enjoy equal rights as their sponsor and a relatively short and secure path to permanent residence (two years). Since 2012, sponsors who need to reunite with their dependent adult children or parents are expected to live up to standards that many national families could not, such as higher incomes and no need for social benefits.
- Education: Slightly favourable: New Zealand goes a long way to assist immigrant pupils with specific learning needs and teach all children to live in a multicultural society. Immigrant pupils are increasingly benefiting from new initiatives to ensure equal access throughout their school career and to seize the new opportunities for learning that they bring to the classroom.
- Health: Favourable: New Zealand ranks in the Top 5 on migrant health policies, immigrants and asylum-seekers enjoy relatively inclusive entitlements and support to access healthcare in New Zealand, whose services and policies are some of the best equipped to serve the needs of a diverse population.
- Political participation: Favourable: Ranking #2, New Zealand is a world leader in granting equal opportunities for political participation to recent immigrants. New Zealand grants the right to vote in all elections to citizens and permanent residents after 1 year’s residence.
- Permanent residence: Slightly favourable: New Zealand's path to permanent residence is similar to other traditional destination countries and a slight boost to the settlement process. Like Canada, New Zealand traditionally grants permanent residence upon arrival or after just a few years, so that migrant workers, families and refugees can start their settlement process with secure and near-equal rights. New Zealand's policies provide immigrants with a slightly favourable chance at a rather secure future.
- Access to nationality: Favourable: Ranked #1 on citizenship, nearly all permanent residents can quickly become citizens and fully participate in New Zealand. Immigrants in New Zealand enjoy a short residence requirement, favourable naturalisation requirements, dual nationality and some form of citizenship entitlement for children.
- Anti-discrimination: Favourable: All residents of New Zealand enjoy some of the strongest anti-discrimination laws and equality policies. Thanks to New Zealand’s comprehensive legislation, all residents can turn to strong bodies and mechanisms to enforce laws prohibiting racial/ethnic, religious and nationality discrimination in all areas of life.