14 January 2008

Cherry picking for New Zealand working holiday visas

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The New Zealand Department of Labour and Horticulture New Zealand are emailing and texting New Zealand working holiday visa holders currently in the country, urging them to head for the Central Otago region of New Zealand to help with the cherry harvest. The post-Christmas campaign is an effort to meet a serious labour shortage.

The horticulture and viticulture industries are reporting 5,500 urgent job vacancies in Central Otago. In the Hawke's Bay and Nelson regions the industries will need over 17,500 workers for the apple harvest in February.

"We have to do everything we can to get the fruit off the trees and we are urging anyone looking for work to contact the regional co-ordinators [of the initiative]," Horticulture New Zealand national seasonal labour co-ordinator Jeff van Beek told the New Zealand Herald.

Britons with a New Zealand working holiday visa can apply for a three-month extension of their visa if they work for three months in the viticulture or horticulture industries. For working holidaymakers already working in these industries, it is possible to apply for a four-month work permit.

Anyone interested in taking a working holiday to New Zealand should confirm their eligibility by taking the New Zealand Visa Bureau's online New Zealand visa assessment.

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