Prepared by Ann Morse, July 2007
with funding from the sponsors of the Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowships in Public Policy
Ann Morse is Program Director of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Immigrant Policy Project in Washington, DC. She has directed the project since its inception in 1992, conducting legislative research and public policy analysis at the federal, state and local government levels. Current projects include federal immigration reform, state immigrant-related laws and immigrant integration. Ann received her Master of Arts in Science, Technology and Public Policy (1988) and her Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies (1981) from George Washington University.
During Ann’s Ian Axford Fellowship exchange to New Zealand she was based at the Department of Labour in Wellington, where she examined the role of state and local government in the resettlement and integration of immigrants and refugees into the social, economic and civic life of their adopted communities; and compared the public policy approaches to admitting foreign workers and supporting effective settlement of New Kiwis and New Americans.
In 2007 New Zealand and the United States are undertaking the largest review and reform of their immigration system in 20 years, attempting to strike the balance between national security in a post-9/11 world with increasing global economic competitiveness, while maintaining support for the reunification of families and the protection of refugees. In general, New Zealand and the United States take similar approaches to immigration: each country embraces immigration as part of our national heritage and continues to welcome newcomers to advance the nation’s social, economic and civic life. Immigrants are a significant and growing proportion of the population in each country, currently 12% in the United States and 23% in New Zealand.
The first section of this paper provides a brief introduction to each country’s immigration systems and demographics, with a particular focus on employment-based immigration, the points system, and the rise of the transitional migrant. The second section focuses on each country’s approach to supporting effective integration or settlement of New Kiwis and New Americans in their adopted countries. Both the United States and New Zealand have well-developed, and well-respected, refugee resettlement programmes with knowledge that can be applied to integration policies for a broader immigrant population. This section highlights some promising practices in migration and settlement policy. Finally, the third chapter contains some observations and considerations for policy-makers in this challenging arena.
Appendix 1: Snapshot of New Zealand Immigration 2005/2006
Appendix 2: Snapshot of US Immigration 2005
Appendix 3: New Zealand skilled migrant category in a nutshell
Appendix 4: Proposed points system US Senate immigration bill
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