Simplifying and streamlining some visas a good start

July 16, 2021

The EMA is pleased to see the Government is increasing the duration of the Essential Skills visas and streamlining the application process to smooth the way for employers and their people.

Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says it is a step in the right direction to addressing labour demand.

"We’ve long said that we need to prioritise those we already have in the country to fill the skills gap that has always existed here but been exacerbated by border closures."

"Our members have been telling us they’ve been losing people to their home countries because they haven’t had applications processed quickly enough, or had any certainty," he says.

The increase in duration of Essential Skills visas for jobs paid below minimum wage from 12 months to 24 months from next Monday, July 19, is a good start.

"Equally important is the streamlining of the application process for Essential Skills visas remaining in their current roles. Removing the labour market test, and medical and police certificate requirements if Immigration New Zealand already has the information, just makes sense," says Mr O’Riley.

"We understand the Government’s longer-term vision is to grow more talent here and build a more self-reliant labour market and we wholeheartedly support that, but migrants are part of the fabric of our society and will always be needed.

The EMA is keen to continue to work with the Government to break down barriers that enable migrants to continue to contribute to the New Zealand economy and strengthen its communities.

"We look forward to hearing more about further changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa, now delayed until the middle of next year, will now be implemented so we can keep our members up-to-date, says Mr O’Riley.

It also supports calls for an amnesty for Pacific Island overstayers, given the resulting opportunity to increase participation in the workforce and in education.

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