Business NZ, a leading pro-business lobby group in New Zealand, says that there are many vacancies in the New Zealand economy that need filling. It has called on the government to do more to attract migrants to fill those posts.
Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said that almost every sector
required skilled workers and said the government was not doing enough to attract
the immigrants needed to fill vacancies. At present, Mr O'Reilly said, the
government focuses on the quality of life in New Zealand in its efforts to
attract skilled workers. Mr O'Reilly said that the focus should be moved to
emphasise the business opportunities that immigrants will find. 'An immigrant
who comes to work in a small business might very well end up owning it,' he
Mr O'Reilly also urged the government to take a more proactive
approach to attract overseas workers; 'Instead of going out to potential
migrants to say 'here are our programs', they should say, 'if you want help,
come and talk to us,' he said.
The New Zealand government recently
launched its 'Skillfinder' website which matches people interested in
immigration to employers with vacancies. Mr O'Reilly admitted that 'this is a
fantastic example of removing those roadblocks' but said much more must be done.
Peter Townsend, chief executive of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of
Commerce, agreed with Mr O'Reilly that the bureaucracy that stands in the way of
immigrants must be reduced. He also said more must be done to ensure that
immigrants thrive when they arrive in the country.
major city of the Canterbury Region, was severely damaged by an earthquake in
2011. The New Zealand government has said that the rebuilding of Christchurch
will be the biggest challenge the country has ever faced. Last week, Nathan Guy,
the New Zealand Immigration Minister, said that the government had already
issued 300 temporary work visas to workers with skills needed in the rebuild. Mr
Townsend said more must be done; 'there is a general awareness we need to reduce
the bureaucratic process, ensure the processes are as business friendly as
possible'. He added that the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce ran a settlement
programme to help skilled workers and their families to integrate into the
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