20 March 2009

Temporary NZ work permit schemes working well: Immigration Minister

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According to the Minister for Immigration Dr Jonathan Coleman, the temporary New Zealand visa schemes are working well in New Zealand to meet the demands of the economy, reports the Otago Daily Times.

Although he says he is committed to protecting jobs for New Zealanders, Dr Coleman confirmed his satisfaction with the progress of the Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme, which allows Pacific Islanders to work in New Zealand temporarily in horticultural regions lacking labour hire. 

"There was definitely a mix of opinion [on how well the scheme was working], but my opinion was that it is working very well," Dr Coleman said before flying out of Queenstown on Tuesday.

He also confirmed that Immigration NZ has dealt with issues regarding the processing of New Zealand work permit applications for overseas workers in Queenstown.  Novotel Queenstown Lakeside general manager Jim Moore said he had issues with the New Zealand visa process, and that they are having to turn down staff because of the length of time it is taking to have their New Zealand work permits renewed, which in many cases was taking six to eight weeks.

According to the report, around half of the staff hired in Queenstown hotels require New Zealand working visas such as the New Zealand working holiday visa.  Most of these workers are reported to be holders of six to twelve-month work visas that are sponsored by employers and need renewal after their expiry date.

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