15 June 2009

New Zealand work permit holders controversially rehired

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A group of New Zealand work permit holders were controversially allowed to return to work for a metal works in New Plymouth this month.

In an attempt to prevent New Zealand work permit holders from taking jobs from local New Zealanders, the government has been vigilant in ensuring no other Kiwis are available to take up specific jobs before granting work permits to overseas workers. 

However, in an ongoing case involving a group of Filipino metal workers, local New Zealanders have been complaining that the New Zealand immigration department has not upheld this policy and that they were unfairly replaced by overseas workers.

The Filipino workers emigrated to New Zealand on a New Zealand work permit to work as welders and polishers for the metal works; however, at the start of the year the company was accused of making 28 New Zealanders redundant and giving the Filipinos their jobs.  

As the Filipinos' New Zealand work permits were specifically for welding and polishing only, an investigation into the case brought to the Immigration Minister's attention that the workers had been working illegally in New Zealand.

However, in a new turn of events, the workers had their New Zealand work permits renewed so that they could do 100 weeks unskilled work, which according to Three News, defied the wishes of the Immigration Minister. 

A New Zealand immigration official has said that the New Zealand immigration department issued the work permits because they had information from the Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) that there were no local welders able to fill the position.


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