Asian and other ethnic groups
The statistical category "other" ethnic groups includes a wide range of people, from those who have lived in New Zealand for many generations through to new migrants. While people of Asian ethnicities form the largest group, the category itself is changing significantly based on migration and demographic trends. In the late 1980s, the employment levels for the "other" ethnic group was second highest, behind NZ Europeans. Since the mid-1990s, this group has had the lowest employment rate. This in part reflects the difficulties some newer migrants experience in finding paid work.
New immigrants typically face disadvantages in the labour market, as measured by participation rates and average incomes. In the 1990s, the employment rates of skilled immigrants were disappointing. This situation was attributed to insufficient English language skills, although it has also been acknowledged that cultural obstacles to "fitting in" to the close-knit work environment of small firms and discrimination on the part of employers may have played a part (OECD 2003). A study conducted by Asoka Basnayake (1999) found that, among a selective sample of new immigrants, 47.0% considered that they had faced discrimination while trying to find employment and when in employment. While with time, immigrants tend to catch up economically with native-born members of the labour force, more could be done to help new immigrants enter the New Zealand labour force.
The initial assessment in Framework for the Future of issues for new immigrants is available here in an HTML page.
More NEON resources on Asian and Other ethnic groups
- Link to the Resource Page on Pacific peoples, Asian and other ethnic groups
- All NEON news stories relating to Asian and other ethnic groups
- NEON page on migrant workers