NZ announces more details of construction workers plan

The New Zealand government has announced more details regarding its plans to make it easier for foreign construction workers to move to the country.

“We have ambitious plans to build houses, transport links and other infrastructure, but a shortage of skilled workers is holding up the rapid progress we need to make,” announced the country’s Immigration Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway.

“As part of the Construction Skills Strategy, led by my colleague Minister Jenny Salesa, we are proposing a range of measures to assist the building and construction industry to get the workers it needs right now, alongside a comprehensive Action Plan to develop the domestic workforce for the longer term.”

The proposed changes to the immigration settings will introduce:

– A KiwiBuild Skills Shortage List to provide an expedited process to fill specific roles for which demand exceeds domestic supply;

– An employer accreditation or alternative pre-approval model for the construction sector to provide certainty and flexibility for employers who exhibit good practices to recruit overseas workers and allow for simplicity and speed of processing visa applications; and

– Specific requirements to accredit labour hire companies to manage the risk of worker exploitation and the potential for under-cutting of wages and conditions of New Zealand workers that may result and to incentivise good employment practices.

“It’s estimated we are some 30,000 construction workers short, particularly plumbers, electricians, engineers, builders and project managers so we need to make changes,” continued Lees-Galloway. “However, any changes would be time-limited so that the sector doesn’t become permanently dependent on migrant workers but does allow time to train up Kiwis.”

Article published 5th July 2018