The retention of skilled migrants is a key issue facing many industries. This study focusses on factors that enable and hinder retention of skilled migrants in the New Zealand dairy industry. A model was developed from existing literature containing four contexts for migrant experience and five key migrant experience process stages.
From this model, a selfcompletion questionnaire was developed and then distributed via four dairy organisations to those migrants workers who were retained. Findings discuss the six most important retention factors identified: pride in the industry; opportunities for career advancement; skill and knowledge enhancement; commitment to the industry; enjoyment of the job; and good work relationships. Analysis of qualitative data showed where industry improvements could be made: work practices and pay; a coordinated communication strategy from the industry; more efficient government immigration processes, and coordinated policy around cultural and social integration. Two contributions – practical and theoretical – are provided.