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40 Businesses Sought For Immigration Pilot

12 March 2002

Media Release

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce is seeking 40 businesses to join a pilot scheme to profile the work experience needs of 40 new immigrants seeking full time employment.

The aim of the pilot is to identify what additional skills and training, if any, that the 40 new immigrants may need to acquire in order to gain a full time position.

At no cost to the businesses, the pilot will enable new immigrants to gain "hands on" work experience over a period of between 3-to-8 weeks as agreed with each employer.

Announcing details, chief executive Michael Barnett said that a joint venture NewKiwis employment scheme established between the Chamber of Commerce and Ministry of Immigration had secured more than 200 new immigrants into full time positions in eight months.

"However, one of the biggest issues for new immigrants seeking employment is that many employers ask for New Zealand work experience, and when this is not forthcoming, the application gets no further."

This perception exists despite the fact that more than 90% of the new immigrants seeking work under the NewKiwis scheme are tertiary qualified, many with degrees in subjects like engineering, information technology, marketing and invariably involving strong computer literacy skills.

The pilot will enable the Chamber of Commerce to assess the validity of the claim that lack of New Zealand work experience is a justifiable constraint against hiring new immigrants, said Mr Barnett.

The pilot is being conducted as a joint venture with the Department of Work and Income, who will pay the wages of the 40 immigrants selected for the scheme.

- For more information contact Michael Barnett: 021-631 150 or project co-ordinator Leah Gates, Ph: (09) 309 6100

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