For the ninth year in a row, Auckland Business Chamber has conducted a national survey detailing the feedback of New Zealand employers around issues and opportunities in employing migrants in their workplaces.

The New Kiwis Employer Survey Report is designed to elicit ‘real life’ feedback from employers, reflecting their experiences when recruiting and employing migrants both on and offshore.

The survey took place between the 22nd of February and the 25th of March 2022. Six hundred and thirty-nine (639) employers responded.

The survey was divided into 5 main sections, which we will go through and briefly summarise.


Manufacturing/operations is still the biggest sector hiring migrant workers, with 13%, followed by hospitality/tourism and building/trades both on 10%.

The proportion of responses from the Auckland region increased to 62% of this year’s survey, while responses from Southland based employers decreased to less than 1%.

There was a noticeable change in the proportion of employers reporting a good gender mix, however it would be reasonable to state that the majority of businesses have diversity across all three areas.

A massive 9 out of 10 employers would rate their migrant workers as either excellent or very good.

Female Asian migrant

Recruitment methods

When asked what attributes they look for when hiring migrant staff, employers ranked “interpersonal skills” as number one, followed by “verbal communication.”

When asked if previous New Zealand work experience was important, only 11% said it was very important, with the majority of employers (69%) saying it was not or only somewhat important.

When it comes to recruitment, Internet Job Boards like Seek/Trade Me are the preferred choice (70%) when it comes to finding new employees.

Word of mouth is still an effective approach for job seekers to consider with 64% of employers reporting they “always” or “regularly” use this approach.

65% of New Zealand businesses had no change to their recruiting practices and 35% of businesses had to find alternative options with the closure of NZ borders.

Barriers faced when employing migrants

By far the biggest obstacle when hiring migrant workers is the communication barrier. 38% of respondents said lack of English (written and/or verbal) and trouble being understood was the main difficulty when hiring migrant workers.

The second biggest issue was the immigration process, with delays in processing, difficulties understanding visa types and insufficient time left on work permits all factors.

When asked what would make it easier to employ a migrant, respondents confirmed an appropriate level of English as a main reason, along with the person already here in New Zealand.

Barriers faced by migrants

Just as it is a barrier for employers, a lack of English communication is also an issue for workers.

Much of the challenge is around understanding Kiwi English including slang and colloquial language.

However, with increasingly diverse workforces, new migrants transition well and are better prepared for the New Zealand workplace culture when they have strong English communication skills.

In saying that, two-thirds of migrant workers remain in their job for 12 months or more, about the same as non-migrant workers.

Migrant workers in New Zealand

Results of the survey

When asked what the most important reasons were for hiring a migrant worker, the response clearly indicated that employers wanted people who had the right skills for the job, irrespective of whether the candidate is a migrant or Kiwi.

47% of employers responding to this year’s survey indicated that they were considering employing within the next six months.

When asked if they were experiencing any difficulty filling roles, 60% of respondents confirmed that they were. Despite the ongoing challenges of working in the midst of the Covid pandemic, employers appear to be optimistic about the future.

The Building and Trades sector is also reporting challenges, with 80% of employers having trouble filling roles, such as Technicians, Builders, Carpenters, Electricians, Plumbers and Drainlayers.

The survey still demonstrates that migrants need to understand NZ culture as quickly as possible and really develop their interpersonal/communication skills to gain confidence with employers.

To read the full Employer Survey click here

How we can help employers find new staff

As this survey shows, employers are expressing increasing difficulty in finding and competing for staff.

This is where we come in.

We have been providing highly skilled immigrant workers to New Zealand businesses for years, growing in reputation and scope.

Indeed, 27% of respondents to the survey reported using the New Kiwis website, double the percentage of reporting to have used the service in last year’s survey.

We are growing, as is our reputation.

Our service is free and provided by Auckland Business Chamber and Immigration New Zealand, so you don’t have to worry about budget, cost or overheads. All you have to worry about is finding the perfect employee for the role.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you find migrant workers, then please register with us today and let’s find the right fit for the job.