Employers in New Zealand claim they can't find the labour they need locally.
06 September 2012
New Zealand employers want visas to deal with skill shortages
More than 40 employers and New Zealand immigration advisers attended a forum in Invercargill last week to learn how to bring in more foreign workers to combat skill shortages.
Several industries in New Zealand claim they will be facing crippling labour shortages in the near future unless they are given access to foreign labour.
Employers claim there is a lack of local labour prepared to work in the mechanical trade industry, the dairy industry and the service industry and that lack could become harmful unless measures are taken.
"We need to look at bringing more skilled workers in and the only way this can happen at the moment is with foreign workers," said Jim Ridley of DN Brown Engineering.
Current New Zealand immigration policy stipulates that local labour must be sought before an employer can turn to importing labour but employers warn that much of the local labour market has inadequate skill levels for the jobs required.
"We need workers but are running into problems getting people with suitable basic skills such as a driving licence," said one dairy worker.
Meanwhile, one cleaning firm owner who said he had previously employed foreign labour with success found more problems within immigration policy that prevented long term solutions from being found.
"I have employed several foreign workers and they do a great job but because the work is not considered skilled enough it makes it hard for them to qualify for permanent residency," he said.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) held a forum for Southland employers last week explaining the benefits and options available to companies who wish to bring in foreign labour, claiming there is a range of options open to anyone looking to recruit from overseas.
Jodie List, casework manager at the New Zealand Visa Bureau, says policy can often get in the way of progress.
"There is plenty of opportunity in New Zealand which foreigners would be more than happy to do, businesses need workers and recently arrived migrants want to contribute to their new home, immigration policy should bear in mind what's best for everyone in these situations."
The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.