Eventually PINZMS will track immigrants and non-immigrants over a 3-5 year period, but only the first wave baseline survey has currently been conducted. There are five sub-samples in the baseline survey of 550 households:
- 120 migrant households in New Zealand who were successful participants in PAC ballots between 2002/03 and 2004/05 and who had migrated to New Zealand by the time of the survey in 2005/06 (101 from Tonga and 19 from Fiji),
- 62 households who were successful participants from the same PAC ballots but were still in Tonga at the time of the survey, either because their application for New Zealand residence was not approved (typically because of lack of a suitable job offer) or was still being processed,
- 174 households who were unsuccessful participants from the same PAC ballots and who were still either in Tonga or Fiji (124 from Tonga and 50 from Fiji),
- 131 households who had never entered the PAC ballots and who were sampled from the same villages as the successful and unsuccessful PAC applicants (89 from Tonga and 42 from Fiji),
- 68 households who were family members of the immigrants in New Zealand and who were living in the same dwelling that the migrants had been living in prior to leaving for New Zealand (60 from Tonga and 8 from Fiji).
Survey weights have been constructed to reflect the different sampling rates used for each group.
The questionnaires are made up of three main sections: (i) individual data, which covers each person in the selected household, and includes standard demographic questions on age, gender, marital status, literacy, current and completed education, place of birth and previous travel to New Zealand, retrospective employment and earnings histories, current economic activity and earnings, job search, use of social benefits, self-rated health and use of health facilities, smoking and alcohol use, self-reported information on diabetes and hypertension, mental health, and blood pressure and anthropometric measurements, (ii) household data on dwelling attributes, family diet, ownership of durable goods, agricultural and household-level income, and remittance levels, destinations, and purposes, and knowledge of and use of various remittance providers, and (iii) a section specifically for the Principal Applicant (a pseudo-Principal Applicant is chosen from amongst the residents of non-applicant households, based on the same age range that determines eligibility for the PAC) which covers the initial job offer in New Zealand, the applicant's experience of the ballot process and their migrant networks, their ownership of businesses and their expectations about employment and earnings in either New Zealand or their home country.