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The Brain Gain: Top 10 check list for employers

Human Rights Commission
Media release
15 July, 2008

The Brain Gain: Top 10 check list for employers of migrants

Employers of skilled migrants in New Zealand have identified a top ten check list for successful workplace relations.

The check list includes zero tolerance of racial discrimination through to accommodating religious diversity at work, and can be found in a new publication Brain Gain: Migrant Workers in New Zealand, available today from the Human Rights Commission.

EEO Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor said the ten point check list had come from a wide variety of employers in industry sectors such as dairying, bakery, accountancy, local government, public service and the hospitality industry throughout New Zealand.

“There are many stories of the barriers and discrimination that migrant workers face in accessing decent employment. Success stories that profile businesses where migrant employees are critical to economic growth and sustainability in New Zealand are less well known,” she said.

The Brain Gain report profiles best practice examples and advice to other prospective employers of migrants. The ten point check list is:

• Changing recruitment attitudes and practices to give migrants a go
• Talking to prospective employees before they come to New Zealand
• A good training and induction system for new migrants as well as other employees
• Different religious beliefs can be accommodated through good communication and workplace flexibility
• Languages other than English can be spoken where it does not compromise health and safety and essential work practices
• Helping migrants improve English language competencies helps boost business productivity
• Diversity of staff can be seen as an added value for co-workers in understanding different cultures
• Migrant workers can offer competitive advantage to new clients and customers
• Migrant workers approach employment with appreciation rather than expectation and exhibit a strong work ethic
• Zero tolerance of racial discrimination in the workplace must be led from top management.

“There are many industries such as dairying that are increasingly reliant on migrant workers and we need employers to be aware of the positive experiences of others”, Dr McGregor said. The report aims to encourage employers with labour and skills shortages to use regional agencies working to place migrant employees.

“The barriers many skilled migrants face in accessing suitable employment and having their experience and qualifications recognised, should equally be recognised as a lost opportunity given the positive fiscal impact of immigration,” Dr McGregor said.


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