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The Government has extended work visas for 10,000 people already in the New Zealand and will allow 200 more dairy workers and 50 vets into the country

The Government has extended work visas for 10,000 people already in the New Zealand and will allow 200 more dairy workers and 50 vets into the country
MANAGING LABOUR: Kris Faafoi says he's extending the stay of about 10,000 people by a further six months.

In twin announcements on Thursday the Government has extended the work visas for 10,000 people already in New Zealand, while separately approved border exceptions that will let 200 more dairy workers and 50 vets come to the country.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said around 10,000 Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visas due to expire between 21 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 will be extended for another six months "to help manage ongoing labour shortages while New Zealand’s Covid-19 border restrictions remain in place".

SSE visa holders will also be given open work rights, allowing them to work in any sector.

“This will provide employers with an assurance that they can continue to access the current onshore workforce to help fill roles."

He would continue to monitor the border and labour market situations and extend these visas again if necessary.

And in the second announcement, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the Government has approved border class exceptions for an additional 200 dairy workers and 50 veterinarians to enter New Zealand.

“It is clear from conversations with the dairy and veterinarian sectors that they are facing workforce pressures. These border exceptions will go a long way towards relieving those pressures.” 

The exceptions will allow up to 150 dairy farm workers in management roles on farms, up to 50 workers in dairy assistant roles, and up to 50 general practice vets to enter New Zealand, along with their partners and dependent children.

“What we have also made clear to sector leaders that we need to ensure there is a strong incentive for New Zealanders to take up entry level roles and develop careers in dairying."

This is the announcement from Faafoi:

Changes to onshore visas will provide employers and visa holders with more certainty, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced.

Around 10,000 Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visas due to expire between 21 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 will be extended for another six months to help manage ongoing labour shortages while New Zealand’s COVID-19 border restrictions remain in place.

SSE visa holders will also be given open work rights, allowing them to work in any sector.

“This will provide employers with an assurance that they can continue to access the current onshore workforce to help fill roles.

“It will also put the minds of visa holders at ease knowing they can stay and work in New Zealand for the foreseeable future,” Kris Faafoi said.

“We will continue to monitor the border and labour market situations and will extend these visas again if necessary.”

Essential Skills work visas will not be extended again, but the duration of Essential Skills visas for jobs paid below the median wage will increase from six to 12 months taking them back to pre-COVID settings. The implementation of the stand-down period for these jobs will also be further postponed until July 2022.

“These changes will provide more certainty to workers and their employers that workers whose skills are still needed can remain in New Zealand, subject to labour market testing to prove there are no New Zealanders available to fill the role if an employer wants to support a work visa application,” Kris Faafoi said.

“The visa extensions and deferral of the stand-down period are temporary measures and reflect the Government’s commitment to support employers and sectors facing workforce shortages while our border restrictions remain in place.

“This approach is in line with the overall objective of new temporary work visa reforms that are designed to ensure New Zealanders are prioritised for work opportunities.”

Alongside these changes to Essential Skills work visas, from 19 July, visa applications will be assessed against the updated median hourly wage rate of $27. This pay rate will determine whether jobs are treated as higher or lower paid. The wage rate was set following public consultation.

Employers paying under the median wage can still access migrant workers but will need to check with the Ministry of Social Development to see whether a registered job seeker is available.

“The Government recently outlined our long-term vision for New Zealand’s immigration system which will involve sectors making a managed transition to new ways of attracting, training and upskilling Kiwis into jobs and investing in productivity measures that will support New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery.

“We encourage sectors and employers to think about how to make this shift and look for ways to recruit New Zealanders before turning to temporary migrant workers,” Kris Faafoi said.

Immigration New Zealand will contact all visa holders eligible for the Working Holiday or SSE visa extension by 25 June 2021.

And this is the announcement from O'Connor:

The Government has approved border class exceptions for an additional 200 dairy workers and 50 veterinarians to enter New Zealand, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

 “It is clear from conversations with the dairy and veterinarian sectors that they are facing workforce pressures. These border exceptions will go a long way towards relieving those pressures,” Damien O’Connor said.

The exceptions will allow up to 150 dairy farm workers in management roles on farms, up to 50 workers in dairy assistant roles, and up to 50 general practice vets to enter New Zealand, along with their partners and dependent children.

“What we have also made clear to sector leaders is that we need to ensure there is a strong incentive for New Zealanders to take up entry level roles and develop careers in dairying.

“The Government and food and fibres sector have been working hard to mitigate worker shortages by training and upskilling New Zealanders, but we know that takes time. This announcement recognises the immediate need for additional expertise to come through our borders.

“Dairy managers and vets have specialist skills developed over many years, which we can’t replicate overnight.

“With the new dairy season kicking off last week, migrant dairy farm workers will supplement the domestic workforce and provide critical support.

“Despite the previous border class exception for vets, our domestic vet skill shortage remains acute, including in hard to recruit roles in isolated rural practices.

“This new class exception will allow veterinarians to enter New Zealand if they have between 3-5 years’ experience and meet the remuneration threshold of $85,000 per year.”

Damien O’Connor said dairy farm workers and vets played a key role in animal welfare, food safety, and safeguarding New Zealand’s international reputation as a producer of safe and sustainable food.

“In making this decision, we’ve balanced the need to keep New Zealanders safe and ensure appropriate MIQ capacity, with seasonal and strategic skills shortages, and seasonal variations for overseas New Zealanders travelling home.

“To relieve workforce pressures, the Government has previously approved exceptions for vets, along with shearers and rural mobile plant machinery operators, and others.

“These new border exceptions will help drive New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” Damien O’Connor said.

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39 Comments

(Potentially libelous personal attack deleted, Ed).

14
up

As per our ridiculous residency point system, a migrant with an honours degree in electrical engineering from Stanford is worth the same as PG diploma in professional mentoring (whatever that is) from a Toi-Ohomai Rotorua.

We're quick to pin the blame on migrants when our policymakers are at fault for incentivising the wrong kind of migrants to settle permanently in NZ.

Why are we subsidising our agricultural sector through the importation of foreign labour, I thought New Zealand prided itself on being at the forefront of free trade and liberalisation?

It's not just our agricultural sector - INZ provides a steady stream of exploitable workers for tourism, construction and hospitality businesses to feed on.

Migrant workers toiling away in Auckland and Queenstown kitchens for well-under minimum hourly pay and sharing their beds on rotation with alternate shift workers was a common revelation up until early 2020.

Don't forget granny's slaves in the rest home.

And the numerous foreign hospital workers - play spot the kiwi

Try farming and see if you can find capable reliable staff from within the existing workforce and before you suggest otherwise they are offering good wages and benefits.

nz is actually governed by dairy farmers.

And China is "governed" by a large crime syndicate.

Not many dairy farmer MPs in current govt.

About time Hon. Damian O'Connor.
The vast majority of workers in the AG sector are reasonably happy in their career choice. It's a career that is not attractive to everyone - the same for any career.
To those suggesting this is subsidizing dairy, do you level the same towards the construction, health care, fibre network development, nursing, age care sectors, to name a few?
The dairy roles are for skilled staff. Those skills are vital to environmental and animal welfare outcomes on farms.

15
up

bollox.

They're bringing in workers because the pay is low and the hours are massive and no one here wants to do it for the money on offer.

If they pay was higher, they'd attract more people.

What about the vets?

Same actually. I'm surprised at the lack of remuneration and long hours considering the skills and ongoing education required.

That can depend on the local shortage.

The vet "shortage", seasonal i understand, was highlighted some months ago. I did a quick look on Seek and Tradme only to find very few advertised. I can only concluded there was no shortage or these vets are placed by labour brokers who don't use main stream media. In addition i seem to recall there were ads on vet technician types but long enough ago for me not to be sure. Perhaps redcows and others in the know can comment on this.

Read this for some sort of understanding of the "Vet Shortage"
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/100650109/southern-rangitikei-v...
Priorities are all wrong. When the Wellington gnome with a useless poli sci degree that approves the visa.Is being paid more than the highly skilled vet they are approving for a work permit.

.

Muz, do you realize hard working folk, now multi millionaires, started by doing this work. People looking to and making a future for them and their loved ones & communities.

Worker, herd manager, contract milker, LO share milker, HO share milker, farm owner.

Muz, embrace the future!

Totally wrong Muzled,

“ The new border exceptions will enable: · up to 150 dairy farm managers (plus their partners and dependent children) earning above $79,500 per annum for Dairy Herd Manager roles and above $92,000 per annum for Assistant Dairy Farm Manager or 2IC managerial roles, up until April 2022 · up to 50 dairy farm assistants (plus their partners and dependent children) earning at or above the median wage at the time of application, up until April 2022 · up to 50 general practice veterinarians (plus partners and dependent children) earning at or above $85,000 per annum.”

I would hardly call that low pay, read the rest here, https://nzwn.co.nz/border-class-exceptions-approved-for-more-farm-worker...

So the myriad of stories just like this one are all bollocks?
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/399859/filipino-farm-worker-surprise...

They don’t represent the new border exceptions.

Explains why the existing visa holders cant bring their families in. Because they dont earn enough. So now they have to create a new category of immigrant worker with a management title to justify the 2 x Median wage threshold. I bet those guys will have their salaries garnished for inflated accommodation and other expenses to drop their overall cost to the farm.

Myriad of recent stories?? That story is around 2 years old. Yes there were/are some bad employers in dairy, as there are in every industry. But to tar the entire industry as bad is bollocks.

11
up

The answer to your question is yes. Prior to the madness of the last 20 odd years we did not need to mass import workers...we raised and trained them here.
We have world class agricultural training institutions - much better than the countries we import our cheap labour from.
Rather then use covid to get back on track and look after our own, the govt is going for the quick fix.
The path to social unrest continues.

More.. try Any..
... will let 200 more dairy workers and 50 vets...

The as slick as PR Implies they been letting dairy workers all along.

New documents show tensions arose between government departments over who should get border exemptions and how the dairy industry lost out in favour of space and film projects.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/444394/mpi-thought-border-exemptions...

The idea of just letting an specific people for specific industries is really just a formalisation of corruption.

The more honest approach would be to let in a given number of people of any type and let the local employers bid for them, rather than just bestowing arbitrary favours on virtuous industries.

Is this your own idea?

LoL

While I would like to claim I was the originator, given the simplicity I would guess somebody has prior rights to that claim.

Recent reports indicate $100,000 is the going rate for a path to residency. Pity the $100,000 goes to foreign agencies not the NZ taxpayer where it could help reduce current pressures on health, education and infrastructure.

God forbid getting the hundreds of thousands to go off the benefit. A breach of human rights and probably million other reasons.

Damn if they work and become prosperous they might vote the wrong way

Perhaps the whole not being able to walk and stand; basic physics like that are beneath you. If you don't like to consider physics & reality so much why not start believing you can stop a fast moving truck by standing suddenly 1m in front of it because like believing that severely disabled people could suddenly become farm labour workers it has the same chances of success. Oh and protip many on jobseeker are the severely disabled because newsflash many would like a job, have skills and experience, but no employers would hire them due to their disabilities (even when productivity would not be affected in any way and no accommodations are needed).

An employer may consider a handicapped person, depending on the handicap, may be less productive but minimum wage legislation prevents paying accordingly. Similar issue to youth wages. Hard to find the balance between exploitation and paying what they are worth. Another problem is the moral pressure against terminating an employee - if you employ non-handicapped people then when they are terminated you have some confidence they will find work elsewhere - but employ an handicapped person when nobody else will do so puts you under an extra pressure.
It is an issue that govt could and should resolve - however govt and local govt are reputedly particularly bad at employing the handicapped.

Government, local and national are worse and often more unfairly discriminate against disabled people often even barring them to even having transport access to worksites. That is on top of far more discrimination in roles you would think would be highly accessible & suitable for remote work in the first place. The chance of a disabled person finding employment are already as bad as 1/4. Top that with most of the 1/4 being paid so far under the minimum wage it costs them more for transport to work than any wages earned. Even if you have to pay to have work and earn nothing we still have most disabled people employed opting for it and many many more still looking for work even at that level even if it provides no income and is a net cost. Unsurprising then that many jobseekers and disabled people claim they cannot get work even though they apply to hundreds of jobs. After how many years of looking do they give up all hope. Hence sadly most disabled people also seriously have their mental health affected and have the worst wellbeing statistics than any other group in society.

Many of the farm workers will be migrants who got stuck offshore when they went back to visit families, and govt policy refused them back. Some of them have been here for a few years. 3 of the 4 winners at the 2021 NZ Dairy Awards came here as migrants.

"to help manage ongoing labour shortages..."

Which country is this? Unemployment rate in New Zealand is about 4.7% but the full employment rate is usually cited as around 3.9%. There is no shortage.

We understand that farms want low wage workers to avoid having to pay local labour rates, it's been their preference for decades. There is no need for the Minister to make misstatements of fact as he throws low wage New Zealanders under the bus.

The greatest shortage is in Southland - unemployment there is around 4.1% so close to the full employment rate. Yes, there is a shortage. Also not everyone wants to move to Southland.