Employers in the regions, and in certain sectors, are in the need of purpose fit visa rules, managed in a timely manner, to allow them to fill vacancies when they are unable to do so with locals. New Zealanders first, is a must, however when gaps appear the entry of temporary workers is critical. Supporting the development of New Zealanders and approving work visas to allow New Zealand businesses to flourish can be complementary.
Kirk Hope Chief Executive of Business NZ recently advocated for “sensible immigration settings” given the need for skills to support growth and citing the advantages of diversity and the attractiveness of New Zealand resulting in a good result for everyone.
I wholeheartedly agree, although we have heard much about taking a regional approach, an outage at migrant exploration and need to train and little has changed. Upskilling may have begun and work rights for students have been addressed, although I am unsure if this will eliminate student exploitation, we remain on high alert for the long-forecasted immigration reforms to address region and industryspecific skill shortages
New Remuneration Levels
Applicants applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa with an occupation classified as a level 1, 2 & 3 of the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) must now earn $21.25 or higher to be considered mid-skilled. These generally are people filling trade roles or who are working in roles requiring a degree.
Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) clients with occupations in ANZSCO in level 1, 2 & 3 must earn $25 per hour to be considered skilled employment while those occupying roles in ANZSCO at 4 or 5 and those whose roles which don’t fit within an ANZSCO classification need to earn $37.50 per hour or equivalent annual salary. SMC applicants being paid $50 plus per hour can potentially claim additional points.
These new rates took effect for applications submitted on and after the 26 November 2018 and relate to full-time work.
Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) and the Ministry of Social Development’s seasonal labour shortage declarations
The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme came into effect in April 2007 and has proved to be a welcome addition to the labour force for horticulture and viticulture industries enabling them to recruit workers from overseas to meet seasonal needs. Workers come from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
They generally work for up to seven months and then return to their homes. Those from Tuvalu and Kiribati are able to stay an additional two months within the eleven month period because of the higher cost of airfares to these countries.
From time to time, Ministry of Social Development declares a seasonal labour shortage which allows for the grant of a Variation of Conditions to tourists already in New Zealand on a visitor visa. Generally, the approval lasts for a matter of weeks, are limited to a particular region, and are the last minute last option when crops are desperately needed to be harvested and no other labour is available.