Faster visas for is­land work­ers

Waiheke Marketplace - - Front Page - DIANA WOR­THY

Pri­or­ity pro­cess­ing is to be given to mi­grant visa ap­pli­ca­tions for work on Auck­land’s Wai­heke Is­land.

The news comes from Auck­land Cen­tral MP Nikki Kaye.

She con­tacted Immigration Min­is­ter Hon Michael Wood­house about con­cerns from the is­land’s hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness own­ers, af­ter meet­ing 15-strong group of them in June 2017.

The res­tau­rant and vine­yard own­ers said they were fac­ing the prospect of los­ing highly skilled staff when their visas ex­pired.

And they were wor­ried mi­grant work­ers would not be el­i­gi­ble for long-term res­i­dency un­der the new rules.

The group said labour short­ages al­ready af­fected the hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism in­dus­try on Wai­heke.

It would not be helped by the changes to the Skilled Mi­grant Cat­e­gory Visa.

Gov­ern­ment be­lieves the changes, which took ef­fect on Au­gust 28 2017, will help cre­ate a bal­ance be­tween en­abling ac­cess to mi­grant labour and en­sur­ing New Zealan­ders with com­pa­ra­ble skills get the work.

The Min­is­ter said, in a writ­ten re­sponse to Kaye, he had asked of­fi­cials to pro­vide ad­vice on how any labour short­ages could be ad­dressed and to en­sure Wai­heke em­ploy­ers were not ad­versely im­pacted by labour short­ages dur­ing the tourist sea­son.

Immigration of­fi­cials have told Wood­house hol­i­day mak­ers will be in­formed about the op­por­tu­ni­ties for work in the re­gion.

Pri­or­ity pro­cess­ing will be given to visa ap­pli­ca­tions for sum­mer em­ploy­ment on Wai­heke.

Th­ese will be ap­proved within 10 work­ing days where ap­pli­ca­tions do not re­quire any fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

‘‘This pri­or­ity pro­cess­ing will be im­ple­mented shortly,’’ Wood­house’s let­ter said.

An immigration re­la­tion­ship man­ager, Carl An­drews, will visit the is­land and work with Wai­heke em­ploy­ers.

He will ex­plore how to link mi­grant work­ers to em­ploy­ment needs and pro­vide ad­vice on ne­go­ti­at­ing the immigration process smoothly.

Fi­nally, a multi-em­ployer Ap­proval in Prin­ci­ple for spe­cific oc­cu­pa­tions on Wai­heke Is­land will be con­sid­ered.

Mi­grant work­ers paid up to $48,859 a year are al­lowed a three­year visa, be­fore they’re forced to leave New Zealand for 12 months.

MP Nikki Kaye has re­ceived a re­sponse from the Immigration Min­is­ter of­fer­ing help over visas. ROSE DAVIS/STUFF

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