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Employing migrant workers in the primary sector

Media Release

23 August 2013

- for immediate release

Employing migrant workers in the primary sector

With the rapid expansion of the primary sector, particularly in dairy farming, an international farm advisor specialising in labour management from the University of California, Professor Gregorio Billikopf, is visiting New Zealand to discuss labour changes and the increasing levels of migrant workers being employed.

In New Zealand for two weeks, Professor Gregorio Billikopf will have a number of speaking engagements, including addressing delegates at the Australasia Pacific Extension Network International Conference being held at Lincoln University from 26 to 28 August 2013, and a speaking engagement in Ashburton on Thursday 29 August.

“Professor Gregorio Billikopf is an internationally recognised expert when it comes to migrant workers in the primary sector,” says Lincoln University’s Associate Professor in Employment Relations, Dr Rupert Tipples.

The boom in dairy farming, in particular, has created workforce shortages in rural New Zealand, with migrant workers being one solution to the issue. Compared to countries like the USA, New Zealand is relatively new to importing farm staff, and has much work ahead in ensuring the optimisation of this valuable staffing resource.

Research conducted by Lincoln University and OneFarm, the Centre of Excellence in Farm Business Management, showed that New Zealand is only beginning to understand the social impacts of increased immigration in smaller rural communities, with potentially wide-ranging effects from housing to education and cultural integration. The research identifies issues and recommendations on how to predict and alleviate problems before they escalate, and ensure a solid flow of productive and happy migrant workers to help New Zealand run the dairy farms of tomorrow.

“Lincoln University and OneFarm are thrilled to be able to bring Professor Billikopf to New Zealand. He is one of the most respected and referred experts in the field of farm supervisor and employee relationships, and conflict resolution,” says Dr Tipples.

“We are going to maximise Professor Billikopf’s time and learn from his research and experience so we can gain a more in-depth understanding of the impacts migrant labour is having, and to find more ways to overcome the challenges.”


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