Media Portrayal of Migrant Workers, Immigration Law and Policy in New Zealand 2008 - 2017

Shum, Laury
Ravenswood, Katherine
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

Recent social debate suggests that increased migration has led to fewer jobs available for New Zealanders, and that it drives down wages. which makes it harder for New Zealanders to compete for these jobs in the labour market (Ryan, 2017). Changes to New Zealand immigration law and policy from 2008 to 2017 highlight ways the New Zealand Government have reviewed and revised immigration law and policies in order to manage the impact, both positive and negative, of migration for New Zealand and New Zealanders. This dissertation researches three changes and the media reporting around them: 1: Internal Administration Circulars, 2008, 2: Immigration Act 2009 and Immigration Act (2) amendment 2015, and 3: Essential Skills Visa, 2017. These changes were analysed using a critical inquiry approach applying interpretive policy analysis. Thematic analysis was used to analyse media content that report on these changes in the New Zealand Herald and Stuff media platforms.

The aim of this dissertation is to explore the relationship between changes in immigration policy, labour market outcomes for New Zealanders and migrants, and social perceptions of immigration in New Zealand. Two key themes were identified 1: New Zealand and New Zealanders are negatively impacted by migrants, 2: migration and migrants are portrayed as a negative factor by the media, and migrants, therefore are portrayed as having a negative impact in their new country of residence. Key findings are that changes to immigration law and policy are developed to improve benefits to New Zealand businesses and individuals (New Zealanders and migrants). Another key finding is the use of strong negative words to report on migrants and migration creates a negative portrayal of migration and migrants in general.

Immigration law , Migrant workers , New Zealand immigration , Media influence
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