Our immigration system is flawed, with highly skilled and qualified migrants being approved who may not be suitable for New Zealand, an expert is warning.

A design professional and employer says he prefers hiring locals to highly qualified migrants.

Nigel Jones is a design professional and works in the company that had looked at employing skilled migrants.

"I interviewed a Middle Eastern man with incredible experience and qualifications, a guy who had designed entire cities," Jones said.

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"However, he had no experience of our timber building systems, so would have been on a steep learning curve at the expense of a relatively small company."

He said migrants who get points for having certain qualifications had an "implied perception" that jobs were available for them.

But many immigrants also came with poor English language skills which he found to be "a huge frustration".

"I tend to favour people with local experience," Jones added.

The Weekend Herald reported today that frustrated migrants are giving up and going home because they say new immigration rules make it harder to work and stay in the country.

Immigration lawyer Kamil Lakshman said the way points were being awarded for skilled migrants was flawed.

She said the system was bringing in highly skilled and qualified migrants, but they may not be suitable for New Zealand.

Lakshman said points were being awarded based on "just the applicant's past" and did not take into account the present or how best suited the migrant was for New Zealand.

"The system is flawed and not robust, and many of the skilled migrants we see coming through may not be adequately placed for New Zealand."

"Top points are being given to people with top qualifications, but the question is are they what New Zealand needs."

Lakshman said little is done to settle, track or analyse the settlement success of migrants after a visa is issued.

In the year to April, more than 30,000 non-New Zealand citizens who had been here on a permanent or long-term basis had left. This is up 23 per cent from the year before.

Massey University sociologist Professor Paul Spoonley said some who had left were frustrated immigrant job seekers who had given up.

He said there remained a reluctance among small and medium enterprise owners to employ migrants who did not have local experience.

New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment chair June Ranson said no system was perfect, but it was important to find a balance.

Ranson said many skilled migrants were also finding it hard to gain points for residency because they wanted to stay in Auckland.

"Tradespeople going to the Auckland area but holding no qualifications would find it exceedingly difficult to meet the points threshold as they lose points for being in that location," she said.

"The current points system was reviewed last year and it is obvious that it is slowing down the numbers."

Ranson said the 30,000 leaving also included those on working holiday visas, students and people on short term assignments and not just permanent residents.

"It comes down to what the Government wants to achieve, and how to move migrants into the regions and not Auckland," she added.