Growing concern over migrant visas due to expire in September

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 Jul 2020, 5:21PM
Iain Lees-Galloway is the Immigration Minister. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Growing concern over migrant visas due to expire in September

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 6 Jul 2020, 5:21PM

The uncertainty surrounding a mass of temporary work visas due to expire in September is causing both businesses and industries significant headaches.

In the midst of the Covid-19 response an extension was offered to anyone in the country with a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa, with an expiration date of between April and July.

But with a wave of unemployment looming, Immigration New Zealand will not renew or issue any new visas until they are happy there is no New Zealand citizen or permanent resident available to fill the work.

June Ranson, chair of the Association for Migration and Investment, told Heather du Plessis-Allan businesses will struggle because there are some jobs Kiwis don't want to do.

"They cannot get the Kiwis. They won't turn up for an interview or apply. So if the let all these migrants go home, who actually is going to do the work?"

One industry in particular which has leant on the dependability of migrant workers is dairy.

And heading into the busiest time of year with work needed to be done, a lot of farms are wanting the ability to extend migrants visas or hire migrants looking for work.

Dr Tim Mackle, CEO of Dairy NZ, told Heather du Plessis-Allan that they are about 1,000 people short at the moment while around 30,000 are in employment. 

"There's about 4,500 workers here on migrant visas."

He hopes that they would be able to fill those jobs with New Zealanders, with a little over 600 having expressed interest in online courses.