New Zealand Shores on a foggy Tuesday morning at Zealong Tea Estate in Gordonton, held an informative conference for employers from the Waikato region, with some businesses travelling from further afar.
Guest speakers of the morning were New Zealand Shores Licensed Immigration Advisers, Immigration New Zealand Relationship Managers, Federated Farmers spokesman, our HR partner Everest and the Waikato Chamber of Commerce. We also had some guests in our audience, that of Jamie Strange, current Hamilton East MP for Labour & staff from the Ministry of Social Development.
The aim of the conference was to engage with employers who are going to be affected by the new visa system coming into effect on the 1st of November 2021. On this date, 6 current work visa streams will be merged into one Accredited Employer Work Visa.
Employers will be required to hold accreditation based on their needs for employment of migrants. With approximately 25,000 employers around New Zealand requiring accreditation at some stage, Waikato with a large proportion of work visa holders, we had a significant number of employers turn out to the event with some fantastic and lively discussions that took place.
Immigration New Zealand’s relationship managers Josh Kennedy and Rob Perry provided an insight into what they do know about the new visa structure & software system coming into effect. An overview of the category was discussed; some policy has been released while there is also outstanding policy yet to be released, which is expected any week now, currently awaiting sign-off from Minister of Immigration.
New Zealand Immigration will in August be running roadshows all around the country for Immigration advisers, employers, and communities where they will be able to show the new software system and provide immigration instructions for the new visa category.
Everest People, our HR partner, spoke about the importance of staff retention and wellbeing of staff, advising employers to be proactive with their current workforce to stop employees looking elsewhere.
The market is very tight with recruitment with New Zealand being at a low 4.7 percent (March 2021 quarter). The Waikato Times published a fantastic article that captured the essence and passion of the presentations which can be viewed here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/125524738/deadline-looms-for-kiwi-businesses-to-become-accredited-migrant-employers
The market is very tight with recruitment with New Zealand being at a low 4.7 percent
Federated Farmers Immigration Spokesman Chris Lewis spoke of urgent labour market shortages within the dairy industry and the importance of employers training young New Zealanders and upskilling current staff.
New Zealand Shores Director, Allan Crome, gave some insights into the urgency in which accreditation applications need to be addressed, purely due to the volumes expected while outlining some concerns with potential backlogs in the immigration system. Launching new software combined with new Immigration policy could be a tricky mix to get right, while we are all hoping this unfolds smoothly!
At the conclusion, the New Zealand Shores immigration advisers engaged with many of the employers, discussed their individual needs and provided informal advice on how to approach the new INZ Employer Accreditation system. Employers were also able to talk one on one with Immigration New Zealand’s Relationship Managers, impart their feedback on the changes, discuss their business insights, struggles and concerns moving forward, many of which were focused on the lack of skilled labour within the market.
The governments key message with the phasing out of the six visa streams is to encourage employers to upskill and train New Zealand resident and citizens and for roles that cannot be filled, fill skill shortages with migrants for employers who can demonstrate they are sustainable, compliant and have made every effort to fill the skill shortages within New Zealand’s pool of recruits.
Employers need to not only look at current employees holding visas, but future needs of the business. Be ready!
Overall, the new system is coming, ready or not, so if you have any questions about the potential effects of this new system on yourself or your migrant staff, please contact New Zealand Shores for a free assessment or personal consultation (in person, via zoom or by phone).