Researchers at Lincoln University are investigating migrant labour issues in rural communities, in particular relating to the dairy industry.
About 1500 migrants, mostly from the Philippines, working in the dairy industry in New Zealand.
The researchers are holding workshops in Southland this week to interview migrant workers and their employers about the challenges and opportunities of their working relationships.
The study aims to improve those relationships, by clearing up "grey areas" such as wages, training requirements, the influence of migrant labour on farm systems and management, and support services for migrant workers.
Lead researcher Dr Rupert Tipples says little is known about the migrant labour in the dairy industry, though demand for migrant workers is likely to increase.
"A few years ago the OECD put out some figures about the number of people retiring in OECD countries, and the number replacing them is very much smaller than the number retiring."
Dr Tipples says says an interim report on the research will be completed at the end of May.
Workshops are being held in Winton for farmers who employ migrant workers on Friday and migrant farm workers on Saturday.