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Rules Around Foreign Crews To Be Tightened

16 December 2005

Rules Around Foreign Crews To Be Tightened

Rules around the recruitment and working conditions of foreign fishing crew on New Zealand waters are to be tightened, Immigration Minister David Cunliffe says.

"The seafood industry is a major export industry for New Zealand and given the current labour shortage, overseas workers are necessary to crew vessels on our waters.

"However, Department of Labour work with the industry shows more needs to be done to lift pay and employment conditions, ensure employers are clear on their responsibilities and can be held accountable for any breaches.

"As a result I have called for a review of the Approval in Principal (AIP) process. This process controls the employment of foreign fishing crew by setting out conditions which employees are hired under. Employers can apply under this process to recruit workers from overseas, but only if they have been unable to recruit New Zealanders," Mr Cunliffe said.

The aim of the AIP process is to ensure foreigners do not take the jobs of locals, that foreign fishers are here for a genuine purpose, and that minimum employment conditions are met.

"The AIP process is a positive and important tool to facilitate employers to find the labour they need, while having checks and balances in place to prevent abuses of the system's intent. I want to make sure this process is as effective as it can be.

"I have called for the Department to report back to me with recommendations from the review by April next year. In the interim, I am insisting on closer scrutiny of all AIPs signed off.

"I have also given my support to the ongoing work the Department is involved in with the industry and unions to address longer-term skill and labour shortages in the industry," Mr Cunliffe said.

ENDS

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