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Temporary visa changes more workable

Temporary visa changes more workable

Changes to temporary work visas are more workable, says BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope.

Changes announced today will help define what is a lower-skilled employee, and will restrict lower-skilled migrant employees to a 3-year visa with a stand-down period before becoming eligible for a new visa. Any migrant earning less than $41,538 a year will be considered lower-skilled and will be subject to the stand-down period. Partners and children of lower-skilled visa holders will have to meet visa conditions in their own right to be able to come to New Zealand.
Kirk Hope said the changes strike a balance between ensuring jobs for New Zealanders and enabling businesses to access the staff they need.

"Every year, employers of lower-skilled migrants will have to prove to Immigration NZ that there are no New Zealanders available to do their jobs - as they currently have to do via the labour market test.

"And where there are no New Zealanders available, employers will still be able to access migrants for those jobs - both skilled and unskilled.

"This is helpful, as many businesses in many industries are struggling to fill job vacancies.

"New Zealand businesses need access to both skilled and unskilled labour to be internationally competitive.

"It’s good that Government has listened to business and industry while developing these changes.

"The revised salary threshold is more realistic for migrant workers to go from a lower-skilled role to a mid-skilled role with training and more experience, and will be more workable in the regions.

"It’s also positive that government has taken up our calls for greater use of employer accreditation as well as looking into different sector and regional approaches according to their individual needs. The next phase of work will need to address specific regional needs in key sectors such as aged care, hospitality, tourism, farming and meat processing.

"But at the same time, we need find innovative solutions to the skills mismatches in the New Zealand labour market, including more than 80,000 young people currently not working and not upskilling. Solutions to this problem are needed in the education and careers sector rather than immigration."

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