New Zealand’s migration and development expert brings new insights to the immigration debate

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Jacques Poot, an award-winning expert on the economic consequences of international migration takes up his new role in London as a NZ-UK Link Foundation Visiting Professor this month. He will be based at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS) for 12 weeks until 31 November. 

The Professor of population economics at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis at New Zealand’s Waikato University, who advises countries on how to better prepare for, and maximise the benefits of, diversity arrives in the UK as the Calais migration crisis continues to dominate media headlines. While in London he will give a series of free public talks providing researchers and policymakers with much-needed insights into the causes and effects of population change.

These four lectures will explore:

• the importance of social security provisions on migration decisions
• the impact of cultural diversity on innovation
• implications of international migration on international travel and trade in goods and services
• how scientific evidence can assist policymakers to shape the future of international migration

The first, at the University of Southampton, is followed by events at Oxford Martin School (University of Oxford), the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics.

Professor Poot, whose work and publications have received worldwide attention, says images of asylum seekers willing to risk their lives to reach destinations such as Britain, ‘have generated often emotional debate about the desirability and manageability of cross-border migration.’

‘The issues are very complex, but progress can only be made when the now extensive scientific evidence on migration impacts is objectively taken into account. While there are clearly differences in the current migration issues facing the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the visiting professorship provides me with an excellent opportunity for comparative research and, hopefully, for exploring new policy options that benefit host countries, but also the migrant source countries.’

He is only the second academic from Waikato University to secure this prestigious visiting professorship. In 2013 Professor Poot won the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) Economics Award, which recognises economic research that has been influential for public policy. Currently he is principal investigator of a government-funded six-year collaborative research project on the impacts of the high level of cultural diversity in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland.

Sir Graeme Davies, chairman of the Link Foundation, said of this visit, ‘We are very fortunate to have Jacques Poot with us at a time when migration issues are so prominent in the minds of the public – there is no doubt that his experienced views will be addressed with great care and attract widespread interest.’

After studying econometrics at the Free University Amsterdam, Professor Poot gained a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He has lectured at Japan’s University of Tsukuba and holds several fellowships including at the Academia Europaea, Regional Science Association International, University College London’s Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn.

‘Jacques Poot’s work has an urgent contemporary relevance as Europe wrestles with the challenge of absorbing large numbers of migrants from Africa and the Middle East,’ says Professor Philip Murphy, Deputy Dean of SAS and director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS). ‘This is another important example of the way in which the NZ-UK Link Professorship allows British academics and policymakers to benefit from the expertise of a leading New Zealand scholar.’

NZ-UK Link Foundation Visiting Professorship programme of public lectures, October-November 2015:

14 October 2015, 18:30–20:00 
Is welfare the magnet that draws the migrants? Lessons from Australasia
University of Southampton

21 October, 17:30–19.00
Does cultural diversity boost innovation?
Centre for Migration, Policy & Society (COMPAS), Oxford University

12 November, 18:00–19.30
Migration, networks and international trade
University of Leeds

25 November, 18:30–20:00
Can the ‘weight of evidence’ on impacts shape the future of international migration?
Wolfson Theatre, London School of Economics

NZ-UK Link Foundation Visiting Professorship programme of public lectures, October-November flyer [PDF]


Notes for editors:

1. For further information please contact Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8653 / Images available on request.

2. The Visiting Professors are chosen by a selection panel comprising NZ-UK Link Foundation Trustees and Professors at the University of London.

3. The NZ-UK Link Foundation is a registered charity whose primary objective is to make ‘an ongoing substantial contribution to the intellectual, educational, vocational and academic underpinning of the bilateral relationship in a changing world’.

4. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities and celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015. It was officially opened on 15 March 1995, by Sir Anthony Kenny as a federation of the University of London’s research institutes and, since then, has established itself as the UK’s national humanities hub, publicly funded to support and promote research in the humanities nationally and internationally. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. In 2013-14, SAS: welcomed 743 research fellows and associates; held 2,081 research dissemination events; received 26.4 million visits to its digital research resources and platforms; and received 202,891 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities: Being Human. Find out more at or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.

5. Each year the School welcomes around 170 visiting research fellows who benefit from its unique research resources and multidisciplinary scholarly community. In addition to visiting fellowship programmes, the School offers professorial, honorary and senior research fellowships. Through the hosting of these fellowships, the School fulfils its overall aims of enriching the research infrastructure of its national and international subject communities and other stakeholders.

6. Professor Jacques Poot studied econometrics at the Free University Amsterdam and has a PhD from New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington, where he held various academic positions between 1979 and 2003. He was also foreign professor at the University of Tsukuba in Japan (1994-97 and 2002). He is a correspondent (honorary fellow) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of: the Regional Science Association International, the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at University College London; and at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn. He is also a research affiliate at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research in Wellington. His research interests include all aspects of the economics of population and he has also carried out research in other areas, including meta-analysis, the geography of economic growth, the construction sector, transportation, housing and forecasting.