“Skilled staff recruited from overseas are getting short shrift from Immigration New Zealand,” says Labour’s immigration spokesperson Dr Rajen Prasad.
“The end of year Employment Survey by the Employers and Manufacturer Association shows that there is a gap between the immigration system and the country’s employers over the need for skilled staff. This means that skilled staff are being sent home after a relatively short period because their visas are not being renewed.
“I can understand the frustration of employers when you consider the time taken to find, bring and train to New Zealand suitable workers from overseas. It makes it all the more difficult to have to let these workers go after a short period of time
“I have constituents, both employers and employees, who have struggled with this issue for some time. The Immigration system should be robust enough to determine where the skills shortages are and provide for permits that enable employers to recruit effectively from overseas.
“The same EMA survey showed that in 2013 almost 60% of employers found it difficult or very difficult to attract suitable staff and 55% thought that there would be a skill shortage in their industry.
“Employers are clearly finding the immigration system difficult to deal with and the Minister of Immigration should direct his officials to address this matter urgently.
“Immigration needs to fully understand the problems employers are complaining about and develop a robust approach to address it”, said Dr Prasad.
“Many countries are now competing for skilled staff and New Zealand will lose this race if our system is not responsive. The immigration system is failing employers and the knock on effect on the economy will be felt at all levels.”