Sem­i­nars on im­mi­gra­tion

Bush Telegraph - - FOCUS ON FARMING -

A lead­ing im­mi­gra­tion ad­vi­sor is en­cour­ag­ing New Zealand farm­ers to unite and take a stand against the stand down, —New Zealand’s im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy that re­quires low-skilled work visa hold­ers to be stood down af­ter three years.

Ben De’Ath, im­mi­gra­tion ad­vi­sor and manag­ing di­rec­tor of The Re­gions, New Zealand’s only na­tion­wide im­mi­gra­tion and re­cruit­ment ser­vice provider, says not only is the cur­rent stand down pol­icy un­fair on hard­work­ing mi­grant work­ers, but it places farm­ers in an ex­tremely dire sit­u­a­tion in an in­dus­try al­ready ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a skilled labour short­age.

“New Zealand can’t af­ford to have a one-size fits all im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, not when it comes to the dairy in­dus­try,” says Ben.

“Ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties are not the same as cities like Auck­land. Their em­ploy­ment needs are dif­fer­ent and that means poli­cies need to re­flect this.

“At The Re­gions, we work with New Zealand’s dairy farm­ers to re­cruit ex­pe­ri­enced, hard­work­ing and re­li­able mi­grant farm­work­ers, mainly from the Philip­pines. These farm­work­ers come to New Zealand for a bet­ter life and to pro­vide in­valu­able as­sis­tance to New Zealand’s dairy farm­ing in­dus­try.

“The Gov­ern­ment’s cur­rent short-sighted stand down pol­icy will do in­sur­mount­able dam­age to an in­dus­try al­ready fac­ing ex­treme chal­lenges with a short­age of skilled labour.”

Ben is speak­ing at a se­ries of im­mi­gra­tion sem­i­nars be­ing held around the coun­try through­out the month af­ter the se­ries was launched last Thurs­day in North­land.

The pur­pose of the sem­i­nars is to unite dairy farm­ers in tak­ing a stand against the stand down pol­icy and sign a pe­ti­tion Ben will per­son­ally de­liver to Par­lia­ment.

“We want the Gov­ern­ment to re­alise this is not the way for­ward for New Zealand’s largest con­trib­u­tor to the coun­try’s econ­omy,” says Ben.

“We hope to have 2000 sig­na­tures on a pe­ti­tion over the six weeks. As a com­pany, we’re fo­cused on find­ing bet­ter so­lu­tions for New Zealand’s dairy farm­ing in­dus­try and we do not be­lieve the stand down is one of them.”

Im­mi­gra­tion woes . . . The gov­ern­ment will let farmer worker Har­jin­der (Har­rie) Chan­der stay in New Zealand but want to send his wife, Pawan­deep Chan­der, a nurse, back to In­dia. Har­rie works for Taieri farmer, Mark Adam.

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