The PINZMS Project

The Pacific Access Category

The unique feature of PINZMS (Pacific Island - New Zealand Migration Study) is that it enables comparisons of immigrants who enter New Zealand through a random ballot with unsuccessful participants in the same ballots who remain in their home countries in the Pacific Islands.

This randomization potentially enables effects of migration and remittances to be estimated that account for any selection bias. Surveys of non-applicants are also used to see how well the non-experimental data and methods that researchers typically use work in practice.

The programme that underlies this survey is a special immigration category, established by New Zealand in 2001, called the Pacific Access Category (PAC), which allows annual quotas of 250 Fijians and 250 Tongans to migrate to New Zealand without going through the usual migration categories used for groups such as reunified family members, skilled migrants and business investors. Smaller quotas are available for other countries that are not covered in the research.

The topical coverage of the survey includes: household demographics, education, labor supply, income, asset ownership and food consumption, based, where possible, on the most widely used surveys in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to enhance comparability.

It also has a very detailed module on health, containing subjective questions on health status, questions on smoking and alcohol use, self-reports of diabetes and hypertension, and measurement of blood pressure, waist circumference, height and weight of all household members.

In addition there are a number of distinct modules on the migration process, remittance transfers, knowledge and use of the financial system, expectations of future income and of future remittance patterns, and other questions on linkages between migrants and their families.

A community questionnaire collects information on infrastructure and selected facilities in the nearest community to the sampled households in Fiji and Tonga. Baseline surveys were conducted in 2005-06 and follow-up surveys are planned for 2007 and 2008.

PINZMS main source of funding is a Marsden Fund grant UOW0503 from the Royal Society of New Zealand. Additional funding has been provided by the World Bank, Stanford University and the Waikato Management School. Support with sampling and with the interpretation of policy and operational aspect of the PAC is provided by the New Zealand Department of Labour Immigration Service in a research partnership agreement.

The study is approved by the multi-region ethics committee of the New Zealand Ministry of Health.