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Border Critical To Economic Recovery

Companies need a risk mitigation and management approach to the border to enable skilled workers, customers and investors to come to New Zealand, BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope says.

BusinessNZ's Border Survey, released today, shows companies are being hamstrung by project delays and lost business opportunities due to the closed border and the lack of incoming international skills and talent.

Some 87% of companies had a reliance on international workers, and half of the respondents said international workers were critical to their business being able to operate productively.

Meanwhile, 61% of respondents noted the border closure was making it difficult to retain international workers, with stress about pending visa expiries and stand-downs, and family separation of international workers in New Zealand noted as key concerns.

Mr Hope says the findings highlight how dependent businesses and their New Zealand workers are on effective and responsive border decisions to enable them to obtain relevant skills that aren’t available in New Zealand.

"We need to continue to iterate and adapt on the border and utilise the great expertise and global networks of New Zealand firms to work with Government on the next steps.

"Nobody is arguing for a wholesale opening of the border. The Government needs to continue to work to develop and manage the border in a way that keeps New Zealanders safe from Covid-19 while ensuring that the strong economic rebound we have seen continues by truly having the world's smartest border."

Key findings

- 87% of companies had some reliance on international workers, and half of the respondents said international workers were critical to their business being able to operate productively.

- 61% of respondents noted that the border closure was making it difficult to retain international workers;

- About 70% of companies noted negative impacts on productivity, revenue, and their ability to operate if they lose further international workers;

- 79% signaled they had hiring intentions for permanent roles in the next year;

- 57% said they have tried recruiting New Zealanders for roles but would need to supplement recruitment with an international workforce; and

- 62% reported significant impacts on revenue, lost business opportunities, reduced productivity, and impacts on staff wellbeing as a result of border closure.

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