Upto14jobs may go on shortage list
AUCKLAND: Carpenters, teachers and cafe and restaurant managers may get fasttrack permits to immigrate to New Zealand under a new Government proposal.
The three groups are among 14 jobs proposed to be added to the Essential Skills in Demand list, which makes it easier for employers to hire workers from overseas.
Immigration NZ general manager Stephen Dunstan said adding an occupation to the list meant that employers would not have to show that there were no suitable NZ applicants for jobs, and overseas applicants would be granted work visas.
The building industry and teachers’ unions welcomed the proposal in view of severe shortages in both sectors.
Master Builders Federation chief executive David Kelly said he was ‘‘very pleased’’ that the list included construction project managers and building associates as well as carpenters, glaziers, plumbers, quantity surveyors and stonemasons.
‘‘A lot of the commentary has been around trades skills like carpenters and glaziers, and while that is absolutely true, just as big an issue is those projectmanagertype roles,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to make sure that we have not just trade skills but people who are running businesses and projects, because that is where a number of the problems start when inexperienced project managers just don’t know how to manage some of the bigger projects.’’
NZ Educational Institute president Lynda Stuart said her union would not oppose adding primary and early childhood education (ECE) teachers to the list.
‘‘While we won’t oppose teachers being added to the list for the short term, clearly the quality and sustainability of both primary and ECE workforces are at risk,’’ she said.
The Post Primary Teachers Association said it would also not oppose secondary teachers being added to the list.
Hospitality NZ policy and advocacy manager Nadine Mehlhopt said restaurants and cafes would ‘‘absolutely’’ welcome cafe and restaurant managers being added to the list.
‘‘It’s something we have been asking for quite some time,’’ she said.
She said it was a misapprehension that ‘‘any old body’’ could run a cafe.
The resthome sector will also be pleased to see agedcare nurses, although not caregivers, on the proposed list.
However the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which runs Immigration NZ, has not expressed a view on whether any of the 14 new occupations should be added to the essential skills list, and has assessed them all as having only ‘‘moderate’’ evidence of skill shortages.
Jobs listed on the Jobs Online index actually declined in the year to June in 10 of the 14 occupations, and increased only for aged care nurses (up 27%), fitters (up 14%), glaziers (up 11%) and wood machinists (up 10%).
Immigration NZ granted 4684 essential skills visas to people in the 14 occupations in the year to June, including 1962 carpenters, 1043 cafe and restaurant managers and 708 aged care nurses.
The visas granted to aged care nurses represented 240% of the total 284 registered nurses estimated to be employed in aged care, although the ministry noted that this was probably due to classification issues. — NZME
A The proposed list is open for submissions until November 9 and a final list will be issued in January.