Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) has applauded a Ministry of Immigration announcement outlining a new simplified ‘pathway to residence’ for immigrant workers which will have major impact for overseas workers employed across the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors.
Alleviating a shortage of skilled and experienced workers is a major concern for tourism employers, but the new one-off residence pathway means many overseas workers who have stayed in New Zealand after border closures can now apply to stay in the country permanently.
TIA chief executive, Chris Roberts the new pathway was much broader and promises to be a far simpler pathway to residency for overseas workers.
“With our borders shut, the overseas workers on temporary work visas who have stayed in New Zealand have been invaluable contributors. Now many can apply to stay here permanently.”
In May, 22 percent of TIA members reported they were not confident they could meet their staffing needs when international travellers return and demand picks up.
Businesses in Queenstown, Canterbury and Auckland in particular are finding it hard to fill vacancies.
An anticipated 100,000 plus applications are expected to test Immigration New Zealand’s processing abilities, however TIA has been told that anyone waiting for a resident application to be processed will be able to get their temporary work visa extended.
“The policy won’t necessarily ease demand for seasonal staff this summer as it is not adding more people to the pool,” Mr Roberts said.
“However, employers will be delighted to know they can hang on to valued staff, and those employees will be excited that they and their families can have a long-term future in New Zealand.”