02 April 2009

New Zealand working holiday makers need Queenstown jobs

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New Zealand working holiday makers could be the winners in the Government's attempts at restricting the nation's temporary workers programme. While the New Zealand working holiday program remains uncapped for most participating countries, the Government is moving to restrict the number of temporary working visas to be renewed so that local workers have the opportunity of employment first.

While the Government has been working hard to restrict the New Zealand work permit programme, Amanda Gripske from the New Zealand Visa Bureau says the number of New Zealand working holiday visa grants has more than doubled over the past few months when compared with the same period last year. 

"Young people in the UK are recognising that this is a better time than ever to escape the British job market for a year and explore New Zealand – and by travelling on a New Zealand working holiday visa they can have greater flexibility in the employment choices they make," Ms Gripske said.

"Being an uncapped visa programme for the UK and Ireland, the New Zealand working holiday is an easy pathway to experience all the adventures and culture New Zealand has to offer."

In Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, the demography of the local workforce is primarily composed of New Zealand working holiday makers and New Zealand work permit holders.  According to The Southland Times, of the 2,100 workers in the tourism industry in Queenstown, 900 are foreign workers on temporary New Zealand visas.

Under New Zealand immigration law, all vacancies need to be advertised to New Zealanders before a foreign worker can take that position.  If a foreign worker is already working in a position and their New Zealand visa needs renewing, that position needs to be advertised locally again.

Hoteliers are complaining that the Immigration New Zealand processing times are taking too long and they are losing temporary workers who cannot afford to wait around for their visa to be renewed. 

"They are looking at the situation and leaving earlier," Destination Queenstown chairwoman Erna Spijkerbosch said. "We are going to run out of staff."

While work permit holders need to renew their visa to continue working in New Zealand, holders of the New Zealand working holiday visa can work in New Zealand for up to 12 months and have their visa easily extended if they work in the viticulture or horticulture industries for three months or more.  Further, all UK citizens travelling on a New Zealand working holiday visa can apply for an 11-month extension to their visa, so that they can continue working and travelling the country.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.

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