Media release

Feds heartened by Labour's election pledge on immigration

June 12, 2017
Federated Farmers is heartened by the Labour Party’s proposal to create a regional skills shortlist which places emphasis on the settlement of skilled workers to the provinces.
Labour’s election pledge made today, is in line with the Federation’s view that rural New Zealand needs support to tackle significant labour shortages.
“Auckland’s problems are not Balclutha’s problems. Migrant workers are making a valuable and vital contribution to our rural communities. They help to fund infrastructure, build community and enhance social development through schools and community groups, says Chris Lewis, Federated Farmers’ dairy industry spokesperson. 
“We support the regionalisation of skills shortage lists and would work with Labour to ensure provision for key dairy farm positions where there are demonstrated shortages.”
The Labour Party proposes changes that will cut the number of work visas by between 5,000 and 8,000 visas annually. This would also involve increasing labour market test requirements for those occupations not on the skills shortage lists. 
While Federated Farmers believes that future immigration decisions should be ultimately determined by demand, it is wary of more bureaucracy getting in the way of what can be a laborious and challenging process for applicants and employers.
“I think you have to be mindful when you start tinkering around with labour market testing. For example, having to re-advertise a job and lodge it with a government agency is stressful for the employer and employee.
“Often there’s a migrant already employed in a position and wants to continue but find themselves going through the uncertainty of whether or not they qualify for another visa, even when there are no New Zealanders available. This can’t be good for instilling confidence in them or our primary sector for that matter.
“If our primary sector is to reach its goal of 2025 where we double our exports, the sector needs to be able to recruit workers as it needs, so there are actually enough people in our future workforce to satisfy the growing demand,” says Chris