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Immigrant employment opportunities in Auckland

Auckland City Council
Media release

3 December 2009

Funding for immigrant employment opportunities in Auckland

Auckland City Council is to give its support to an initiative designed to increase employment opportunities for qualified immigrants in Auckland.

The council will become one of seven core funders of the newly independent not-for-profit organisation OMEGA (Opportunities for Migrant Employment in Greater Auckland).

Working with local businesses, OMEGA operates a mentoring programme and an internship programme, both designed specifically to place skilled immigrants into jobs that match their skills and experience.

“Auckland is a true melting pot, one of the most ethnically diverse city in the world, with one in three residents born overseas,” says His Worship the Mayor, Hon John Banks. “The city attracts international talent and it is important we support initiatives that tap into the talent. I want to see fewer engineers driving taxis. I want all people living in Auckland to have the opportunities make the best contribution they can towards making Auckland a vibrant, diverse, and cosmopolitan city.”

Approximately 50 per cent of all immigrants to New Zealand choose to settle in the Auckland region and offer a high level of skills in a traditionally tight labour market. Overseas born employed residents tend to concentrate in Auckland city and on average are more qualified than employees nationally.

In Auckland city, 38 per cent of overseas born residents have an education qualification equal or superior to Bachelor Degree, as compared to 36.2 per cent of total employed.

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Auckland city’s employed immigrants work predominantly in high skilled occupations such as professionals, managers and technicians.

Justin Treagus, OMEGA Programme Director, says the organisation is thrilled to receive council support.
“People who enter our programmes possess the education, experience and language skills needed to excel in the workforce. All they are missing are the connections and the local knowledge that can only be gained from real-life experience. We match new immigrants with professionals in a similar field to gain information, networks, advice and New Zealand experience that can lead to suitable employment.”

“The diversity immigrants bring to New Zealand lifts innovation and productivity. Nearly 50% of all skilled immigrants to New Zealand are either confined to jobs for which they are over-qualified or are inactive or unemployed. Getting them into jobs that fit is an instant lift to productivity.”

Until October 2009, OMEGA was funded by the Tindall Foundation, and supported by the Committee for Auckland. Auckland City Council’s City Development Committee voted to provide funding to OMEGA at today’s meeting. The funding will be provided from the existing Economic Development budget, with $40,000 committed for the first year. Two additional years of funding, at $40,000 per annum, have been endorsed, subject to clearance from the Auckland Transition Authority.

The council will join ANZ, BNZ, Genesis Energy, Gen-I, New Zealand Post Group and State Insurance as core funders of OMEGA.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Ends

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