Immigration NZ Requiring Higher Standards
Immigration NZ Requiring Higher Standards For Dairy Farm Workers
The demand for dairy farm workers from the Philippines continues to remain strong, as New Zealand farmers still find it increasingly difficult to recruit locally suitable applicants. Filipino migrant workers have been coming to NZ over the last few years and have proven popular because of their strong work ethic and a desire to make a better life for themselves.
Due to the increasing number of dairy farm workers from the Philippines being employed by New Zealand farmers, Immigration NZ has tightened up on the selection criteria applicants must have before visas are approved. They will need to show that they have had a minimum of two years work experience before qualifying on a commercial dairy farm before obtaining a work permit. Many applicants for positions on New Zealand dairy farms from the Philippines have agriculture or veterinary degrees, but lack the work experience. These people no longer qualify for positions on NZ dairy farms. Unless they can prove to immigration NZ that they have the work experience they will not qualify for work visas.
Some agriculture colleges in the Philippines have been running short courses which are being offered to students who believe that by doing such courses they will qualify for work visas to work on NZ dairy farms. Immigration does not recognise such courses. Immigration NZ advises “Holding a qualification comparable to a New Zealand National Certificate Level 2 (or above); or providing verifiable evidence of at least two years relevant work experience; or both.” National Certificate Level 2 is an entry level qualification.
In the Philippines, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) offer a two year Animal Production course which may be assessed as comparable by the NZQA.
Before overseas workers can qualify for work visas they must have a police check, and a through medical examination, to ensure that they meet the standards set down by Immigration NZ. Their work experience and qualifications are then thoroughly vetted.
One New Zealand Company, Immigration Placement Services Ltd has established an office in Manila, Philippines to ensure applicants are screened properly and meet Immigration NZ requirements for their work permits. They provide a free service to New Zealand farmers and employers in sourcing suitable applicants. The company is able to provide this service free to NZ employers as it is paid by migrants wishing to obtain a job offer to qualify to migrate to NZ.
Farmers wishing to use the service may search for suitable applicants on the company’s website http://www.immigratenz.co.nz/farmers.php where they can review applicants CVs and select those that meet their requirements. Telephone or video interviews are then arranged between the employer and applicant, so farmers may be able to select those most suitable for their requirements.
Immigration Placement Services believe that you need to be based in the Philippines to be able to screen applicants effectively. There needs to have some-one on the spot who can check the credentials of applicants to ensure documents have not been forged and that the applicants meet employers requirements. It is extremely difficult for recruitment agencies to do this from New Zealand.
Philippines law requires all people going overseas to work from the Philippines to first obtain an Overseas Employment Service before they can legally leave the country. As Immigration Placement Services is accredited with the Philippines Government Agency in issuing applicants OECs it arranges this for the applicant, saving a lot of paper work for employers wishing to do these themselves.
Farmers should consider selecting applicants for next season now, so they will be sure that their work visas are approved in advance rather than leaving it till just before the season commences. This is to avoid disappointment from delays with visas applications which occur from time to time if Immigration NZ Visa Officers require further checking on applicant’s backgrounds.