The government has announced changes to immigration policy with a streamlined temporary work visa.
It’s been greeted positively by Federated Farmers:
“Our message that workforce and related problems experienced by the big cities are not necessarily those experienced in the provinces has been taken on board – we congratulate the government,” Feds employment spokesperson Chris Lewis says.
“The changes will help ensure farmers and others can more easily employ migrants when they need them, and when the options for taking on and training suitable New Zealanders are exhausted.”
By ditching the ANZSCO skill level classifications, there is much greater scope for a migrant worker to achieve career progression on our farms.
“The changes incentivise farmers to invest in training and supporting migrant employees because there’s a greater chance of keeping them than currently exists.
It’s such a waste of time and effort to train people only to have them forced to leave the country when their visas run out.
“We also acknowledge the government for its compassionate and pragmatic approach in reinstating the family entitlement for lower skilled visa holders. The migrant worker’s children can be educated here, and their partner can get an open work visa,” Lewis said.
“It’s a positive for rural communities to have settled and content families, not just single men who may well be sending all their money home to their family.”
It’s far better to have families together here, participating in the community, than to separate them with the worker isolated and sending money home.
The government has indicated the dairy industry is a likely early target group for one of the new sector agreements, containing specific terms and conditions for recruiting foreign workers.
“Federated Farmers looks forward to working with other Team Ag partners and the government to help get this sector agreement right,” Lewis said.
DairyNZ and the tourism industry are among others who are pleased with the changes and I agree with them.
Unemployment levels are low throughout New Zealand and out of the main centres are down to the unemployable. It is at least difficult, and often impossible, to get locals who are capable of working on farms, orchards, hospitality and tourism in the regions.
But what do all the people who voted for the governing parties, Labour NZ First and the Green Party think?
All three parties criticised immigration levels when they were in opposition and campaigned on cutting it back.
We can be grateful that now the anti-immigration rhetoric has met the reality of worker shortages it’s the voters who believed the talk who are disappointed but businesses will find it easier to get the staff they need.