Information Flows and Migration: Recent Survey Evidence from the South Pacific
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Standard models of the migration decision-making assume potential migrants are well informed of the employment opportunities available in different labor markets, and decide whether or not to migrate on this basis. This paper uses new survey data collected in Tonga and Vanuatu to assess the information migrants and potential migrants have about employment opportunities available through the new Recognized Seasonal Employer program, and the means of communication used to acquire this information. We also employ additional surveys of Tongans and Tongan emigrants to measure the extent to which knowledge acts as a constraint to migration through the Pacific Access Category, and to examine whether even very highly skilled emigrants know whether or not they can collect pension income earned abroad if they return to Tonga. The data reveal significant gaps in information about employment opportunities abroad, despite a large emigrant network and quite high levels of communication between New Zealand and these Pacific Islands.