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Labour Prioritises Football Over Nurses

The Government has quietly carved out an immigration exemption for employees of FIFA, while Kiwi businesses continue to face major hurdles in their efforts to bring in the workers they desperately need, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“Under Labour’s new work visa, employers must apply to become accredited and submit a job check to show that domestic recruitment was unsuccessful before they can hire migrant workers – an expensive process that can take months. Even schools, which pay staff on a collective agreement, don’t escape this bureaucratic and costly process.

“Despite previously ruling out any special treatment for a particular sector, Immigration Minister Michael Wood has carved out an exemption for FIFA ahead of next year’s Women’s World Cup, exempting them from the entire process and allowing them to hire migrants on visitor visas.

“This is a clear contradiction to what the Immigration Minister said earlier this year when he defended making schools go through these processes.

"The Minister stated there was ‘no good argument for taking one particular sector and giving it special treatment over and above other sectors’ and that the system must be ‘fair and equitable’.

“Labour is willing to bend the rules for an international organisation worth billions of dollars but won’t listen to the needs of small businesses and even schools across New Zealand crying out for workers.

“National supports bringing this tournament to New Zealand, but this exemption is a slap in the face for Kiwis who have had to jump through hoops just to hire desperately needed workers during the most acute skill shortage in half a century. Labour did nothing when schools were closing for lack of teachers, and surgeries were cancelled because there weren’t enough nurses.

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“Even though Labour claims their new work visa offers a ‘streamlined process’ for employers, the fact that FIFA still needs to be exempted shows that the Government’s immigration policies are fundamentally flawed.

“If the Minister is truly trying to align us with Australia, which he claims is the reason for this exemption, then he should also consider aligning us with their policy of granting immediate residency for migrant nurses.”

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