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Past Project

Settlement and Circulation of New Zealanders Living in Australia: Patterns, Dynamics and Analysis (2005-2008)

The study concentrates on people who moved to Australia between August 2000 and July 2002. This was a period of considerable volatility in trans-Tasman migration. The researchers trace these New Zealanders’ subsequent moves out of, and back to, Australia over the period August 2000 – July 2006, and use census data for both Australia and New Zealand to examine the living arrangements and socio-economic characteristics of these movers. The impact of the change in social security arrangements for New Zealanders in Australia that was implemented in 2001 on the flows is also investigated.
This research gives a new understanding of current patterns of settlement and circulation of New Zealanders living in Australia. This is important in a world where migration is increasingly driven by short- and long-term job opportunities, rather than permanent migration to live in a new land.

The second year of the programme was devoted primarily to the analysis of data that inform on the characteristics of New Zealanders in Australia and their international mobility. Using a unique longitudinal dataset provided by the Australian Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA, now replaced by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, DIAC)) on 126,193 New Zealand (NZ) citizens arriving in Australia for a stay of 12 months or longer between 1 August 1999 and 31 July 2002, the team tracked all subsequent 931,921 moves of these migrants out of and back into Australia, up to July 2005. Data on a similar group of migrants from the United Kingdom (a “control group”) were also analysed. In addition, trends in movements between NZ and Australia using arrivals, departures and census data from both countries were studied. Procedures were also developed for extracting multi-level (individual, family, household) census data on migrants in the family contexts.

The team found that policy changes in 2001 that removed labour market-related social security eligibility of new NZ migrants to Australia increased the probability of remigration from Australia among those who had intended to settle permanently. Moreover, subsequent migrants also make more overseas trips and stay away from Australia for longer. It was also found that there is a high degree of circularity in the trans-Tasman flows. New Zealanders in Australia are a young population and have a high level of labour force participation. However, controlling for age differences the NZ and Australia-born populations are similar. This is not the case for the Australia-born in NZ. The latter are quite a selective group in terms of income, education and occupation.

Results were reported at a number of forums, including an invited presentation by Professor Jacques Poot at an international conference at the Australian National University. Several papers are close to submission to journals. Presentation of some aspects of this research by Lynda Sanderson at the 2006 NZ Association of Economists conference won the Jan Whitwell Prize for the best student paper.

A no-cost extension of the project for an extra 12 months (2008) has been applied to allow for the analysis of the 2006 census data in Australia and further development of the econometric modelling of mobility behaviour.

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2005 Progress Report

2006 Progress Report

2007 Progress Report

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