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Expats initiative launched

Expats initiative launched

The government is launching new initiatives to bring expatriate New Zealanders up to date with job opportunities at home

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Prime Minister Helen Clark and Immigration Minister Paul Swain said today that the government is launching new initiatives to bring expatriate New Zealanders up to date with job opportunities at home.

"The government wants to make it easier for expats to come home and find the right job by giving them the best information about the country, economy and job opportunities. This programme brings all that together," Helen Clark said.

"Expats have the skills employers are crying out for with unemployment at just 3.7 per cent. It makes sense for the government to help New Zealand employers connect with expats," Helen Clark said.

"New Zealanders have always travelled abroad for new experiences and opportunities, and there are at least 460,000 New Zealanders living overseas. Yet studies show that half of our expatriates think they'll come home and 25 per cent are still deciding.

"The key factors people consider when thinking about returning home are lifestyle, friends and family, and work and career. These new initiatives aim to provide information relevant to a decision to return home," Helen Clark said.

Helen Clark and Paul Swain said the programme would focus on the following areas:

- Launching a website which has up to date information about New Zealand and can connect expats to the employers, recruiters, real estate agents, and other organisations and information they need when deciding to return home. The website will also have a link to the Department of Labour's CV matching service, networkzonline

- Trialling Department of Labour video conferencing facilities in London to New Zealand employers for interviewing expats

- Working with the existing range of government and private sector organisations with expat links such as Kiwi Expats Association (KEA), which are creating an expat network around the world and helping them to act as ambassadors for New Zealand.

- Promoting offshore job expos to expats to help them connect with New Zealand employers.

- Providing ways friends and family in New Zealand can connect expats to information about returning.


Helen Clark said Labour's recently announced student loans policy which will wipe off interest on student loans for people living in New Zealand adds another incentive for Kiwis to come home.

In addition, the Department of Labour is looking at ways to help make the process smoother for foreign partners of expats by prioritising their applications for residence.

Helen Clark said the programme will build on the many initiatives already underway by private and government organisations to promote connections with off-shore Kiwis. This includes other measures the Government has introduced that make New Zealand a more attractive place to return to - like changes to tax policy for returning residents, and the paid parental leave scheme.

Helen Clark said it would not be a one-off programme, as global demographics like aging populations and shrinking workforce meant New Zealand would continue to compete internationally for skilled labour.

"Skilled New Zealanders are going to be in demand offshore. That means it's important that we take new initiatives to make sure that our expats know more about the opportunities back home," Helen Clark and Paul Swain said.

ENDS

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