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Limits on Immigration and Work Visas may stop tourism growth

Limits on Immigration and Work Visas may stop tourism growth

Hospitality businesses are already struggling to find chefs and managers of restaurants and bars. The suggestion by some political parties that they want to further limit the industry’s access to migrant workers on work visas will severely limit the industry’s ability to meet the needs of New Zealand’s growing tourism market, says Adam Cunningham, President of Hospitality New Zealand. A recent survey of its members showed that 96.9% believe there are significant skill shortages for café, restaurant and bar managers, with over 58% taking three months or more to find suitable candidates. Of those finally employed, 50.4% were on some sort of work visa. The picture for chefs was similar with over 59% taking three months or more to find a suitable candidate of which 45.6% were on a work visa of some sort.

The industry has a priority to employ New Zealanders but they are simply not available in the numbers required. For restaurant, café and bar managers 38.5% of respondents had sought candidates from Work and Income with only 2.2% finding suitable candidates. The same story applied for chefs with only 2.1% finding suitable candidates from Work and Income.

These skill shortages are only going to get worse as the economy improves and tourism numbers grow. Any limitations on the ability to employ suitably skilled migrants would severely limit the industry’s ability to meet the growing demand, said Mr Cunningham.


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