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Migrants help build New Zealand workforce skills

Migrants help build New Zealand workforce skills

New Zealand businesses aren’t yet making the most of the skills and real economic benefits that new migrants can bring, says Minister for Social Development and Employment Steve Maharey.

In a speech to immigrant engineers in New Zealand (IPENZ Special Interest Group for Immigrant Engineers), Steve Maharey discussed the tight labour market, low unemployment, and the range of support provided to help migrants into jobs that match their qualifications and skills.

“We are providing information to employers on the value of looking at sources of labour they may not have considered before, and giving them support in recruiting a more diverse workforce. The government is aware that we have a responsibility to help new migrants into jobs. For most migrants, unemployment or under-employment is only transitional - in the long term, migrants have a lower unemployment rate than new Zealand-born workers,” Steve Maharey said.

Steve Maharey outlined steps the government is taking to support migrant employment:

developing a national network of migrant resource services

tailored career and labour market information and support for unemployed former migrants

extra funding to tertiary institutions for migrants with tertiary qualifications but low English language skills to take ESOL courses

intensive small group and mainstream ESOL programmes in schools, plus resources and support material for teachers and boards

a specific Auckland Migrant and Refugee strategy which includes 38 specialist case managers in Work and Income centres across Auckland, to work with migrants and refugees and assist them into employment

Migrant Job Link and other specialised job search programmes, plus job search seminars at migrant centres

the language line telephone interpreting service, providing New Zealand-wide information and help in 37 languages

the People Power publication and website to support employers recruiting a more diverse workforce

the Work and Income / Auckland Chamber of Commerce work experience programme for migrant professionals, and other industry partnerships.

“Job growth in New Zealand remains strong and employers are crying out for staff. Making the most of the skills, diversity and vibrancy that migrants bring to workplaces will benefit all of us,” Steve Maharey said.

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