Changes to seasonal work visas have given New Zealand growers a lifeline for dealing with labour shortages. Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has stated that a Supplementary Seasonal Employment visa will be automatically given to about 11,000 working holiday visa holders in New Zealand to help fill labour shortages in the horticulture and wine growing industries.
It will apply to those with visas expiring between November 1 and March 31, and will extend their visas to June 30. “Without these visa changes, there will not be enough people in the right locations to ensure fruit and produce is picked in time to ensure that flow-on economic recovery benefits protect other New Zealand jobs.”
The changes were for the 2020-21 season only, he told stuff.co.nz.
“Two key sectors we are moving to help are horticulture and wine growing. These sectors are among a range of industries performing critical roles in supporting New Zealand’s COVID economic recovery and generating vital export earnings. So, it’s important we support them to keep going, while ensuring that, where there are job opportunities, New Zealanders are given a fair chance at filling them,”
Beehive.govt.nz quoted Faafoi as saying: “This season we expect more Kiwis, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, will be available to work in these sectors, but it is likely there will be a shortfall of workers as these industries have often relied on migrants for their seasonal peaks. Therefore, people in New Zealand with expiring working holiday visas will be able to stay here to fill short-term horticulture and viticulture roles.”
Employers can take on these workers when there are unfilled Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme spaces with an RSE employer, or there are unfilled roles available with an accredited SSE employer