04 March 2008

New Zealand immigration needs in building likely to soar

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Officials and businesses in New Zealand are concerned that demand for construction workers in neighbouring Australia will create excessive labour shortages in their own country.

The need for new housing in Australia led prime minister Kevin Rudd to announce earlier this week plans to encourage 15,000 more people into the construction industry.Peter Lamont of the Australian Housing Industry Association suggested that much of this need would be met from New Zealand labour.

"New Zealand builds a similar house to Australia with similar methods. There are a lot of New Zealand trades people currently working here," he said.

He added that British and American workers would also be targeted.

The Australian announcement, however, has caused alarm in New Zealand, which already has an ageing workforce profile in the construction trade and a shortfall of new housing.

New Zealand Master Builders chief executive Pieter Burghout told the New Zealand Herald: "It's already an issue but a manageable one. But if it gets easier to pick up a job in Australia then the problem will get worse."

That in turn may lead New Zealand to look to the UK for more of its builders.

New Zealand needs skilled migrants: Anyone applying for a New Zealand visa should begin by taking the New Zealand Visa Bureau's online New Zealand visa assessment to see if they meet the basic legislative requirements.


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