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Labour Creates Another Road Block For Businesses

Confirmation from the Government that businesses will soon be forced to pay a minimum of nearly $30 per hour for migrant workers is yet another road block for businesses facing crippling staff shortages, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“The Government has today finally made a long-overdue change to illogical rules turning away highly-skilled and desperately-needed chefs. It has taken three months for the Immigration Minister to make this very simple change to immigration instructions. While the Minister has dithered, restaurants across the country have been closing their doors.

“This good news for the hospitality sector is overshadowed by news that the new minimum wage for hiring a migrant will be increased in February from $27.76 to $29.66 in line with the new median wage rate.

“Not only does this mean that in some cases businesses will be paying migrants more than the Kiwis standing next to them, but it will see costs passed on to consumers, making the cost of living crisis even worse.

“Labour have taken their 2018 policy designed to drive down immigration, and dropped it in to 2022 in vastly different economic circumstances. With a net loss of 12,400 people in the past year and the worst labour shortages in 50 years, this policy makes no sense.

“Further proof that the policy is not fit for purpose is the fact that Minister Wood, who recently stated there is ‘no good argument for taking one particular sector and giving it special treatment over and above other sectors’, has been forced to extend his median wage carve-out for the hospitality and tourism sectors through to 2024 – an admission by the Minister that businesses in these sectors will struggle to meet the costs of the median wage requirement.

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“The Reserve Bank has stated that our economy is being constrained by labour shortages with businesses across New Zealand crying out for workers. Despite these major challenges, Labour is simply creating yet another road block for struggling businesses by requiring them to pay migrant workers a minimum wage of nearly $30 an hour.

“Migrant workers should be paid at the market rate for their skills and experience, the same as their Kiwi counterparts.

“Enforcing a $30 per hour minimum wage to hire a migrant will make it harder for businesses to get the workers they need and will ensure that labour shortages persist for longer, and ultimately it is Kiwis who will pay the price.”

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