New Zealand to overhaul temporary work visa program

Proposed changes to New Zealand’s temporary work visa program would make it easier for regions and industries to get the workers they need.

“The Coalition Government is determined to make our Immigration system work better for New Zealand business and regions, so that those areas and sectors experiencing genuine labour shortages can get the support they need,” explained Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

“The current system is overly complex, includes a number of different visa options and isn’t adequately responsive to sectoral or regional differences in the labour market.”

To address these issues, the Government is proposing a set of reforms for employer-assisted temporary work visas to simplify the system and make it easier for business and regions to get the skilled workers they need to thrive.

The proposals will include introducing a new framework for assessing all employer-assisted temporary work visas. The new framework would be employer-led, rather than migrant-led, and will include checks for:

– Employers – where approval will be granted to an employer to enable them to hire a migrant’

– Jobs – to ensure no New Zealander is able to do the job

– Migrants – to ensure they meet character and health requirements.

“The new employer checks will help combat migrant exploitation by lifting the requirements on all employers and enabling the Government to put tougher tests in place for higher risk employers and employers looking to hire multiple migrants,” Lees-Galloway continued.

“As part of the job checks, the proposals also include replacing the Essential Skills in Demand Lists with Regional Skills Shortage Lists and introducing sector agreements for sectors which rely heavily on migrant labour.

“Regional Skills Shortage Lists will better reflect the skill shortages that exist in the regions and provide a stronger signal to temporary migrants of opportunities in regional areas.

“Sector agreements would help businesses in need source migrants for easily in return for commitments by the sector to employ and train more New Zealanders and to address their workforce needs more effectively.”

There will also be more incentives and support for businesses to employ more New Zealanders, while improving employment conditions and certainty for both domestic and migrant workers.

Article published 18th December 2018