Analysis of LisNZ data to date has primarily explored skilled principal migrants and their settlement and labour market outcomes. However, the settlement of family members and the labour market outcomes of partners are equally as important to understand.
The presence of family members alongside the principal migrant plays an important role in the settlement process by providing social and economic support and assistance. In addition, children in particular have been found to increase the social connectedness of principal migrants and therefore support positive settlement outcomes. Understanding the settlement of partners and children is important as it has been identified that if a partner and family are not happy, then the retention of the skilled principal migrant is unlikely. Facilitating employment opportunities and settlement services for partners of skilled migrants may be just as important as those developed for skilled principal migrants.
The settlement of families who migrate to New Zealand is increasingly important given the demographic challenges facing the country. Taking a longer-term view, retaining migrants who have partners and children benefits New Zealand not only by gaining the skills we need immediately from the parent(s), but also by potentially increasing the number of New Zealand educated workers when their children eventually enter the labour l force. This may be particularly valuable as ‘baby boomers’ increasingly retire over the next 20 years.
By understanding the factors that influence the successful settlement of families, we can better improve or target settlement services and policies, therefore maximising economic contribution.