Debate continues over migrant workers stuck in NZ

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 May 2020, 4:33PM
Overseas workers play a big role in industries such as agriculture. Photo / File

Debate continues over migrant workers stuck in NZ

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 May 2020, 4:33PM

There's a debate brewing about what should happen with tens of thousands of workers on migrant visas over the next few months.

As it stands, they don't qualify for the unemployment benefit or other social services if they loose their jobs.

In the face of rapidly rising social welfare costs, Winston Peters and Queenstown mayor Jim Boult have both said migrants should consider going home.

June Ranson, chairwoman of the NZ Association for Migrant and Investment, told Heather du Plessis-Allan its unfair to except migrants to leave.

"It sounds like one of Winston's typical election year comments."

Ranson says a number of the migrant workers could have skills which New Zealand will need in the long term.

"We have a totally different employment situation with what our labour needs will be.

"While we recognise New Zealand residents come first, we are still going to have a hole when it comes to migrant workers."