An eleventh-hour announcement by Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi took some heat out of irate hospitality business owners who accuse the Government of leaving their industry in crisis due to critical staff shortages.
Faafoi issued an embargoed press release last night, announcing an extension to working holiday and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visas shortly after an online petition organised by the Restaurant Association went live on their website.
Business owners, led by the association, today launched a two-month "Reset" campaign aimed at forcing the Government to focus on immigration issues which they claim will cause more cafes and restaurants to close if left unresolved.
Restaurant Association National President Mike Egan told Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford that they have extended the working holiday visa, but not the essential skills visa that applies to people like bar managers.
"They've just addressed the working holidays, which is the backpackers.
"The other one that could help is the international students, they are restricted to 20 hours a week, if they could extend that, because they do want to work more."