PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 18 March 2022 -
Govt must get working holiday-makers to NZ
Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi must make New Zealand an attractive destination for working holiday-makers, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
“New Zealand is experiencing massive labour shortages. If more isn’t urgently done to attract these workers, tourism and hospitality businesses in places like Queenstown will continue to struggle and won’t be able to offer their gold-standard service to tourists when they start to arrive.
“Global competition for these workers is intense. Australia, who we directly compete with for labour, is spending millions on marketing to aggressively target these workers to their shores, while also offering a raft of other incentives like a visa application fee refund, unrestricted work rights and supplementary visas.
“Even with all of these incentives, working holiday-makers have shown they are hesitant to travel, with Australia only receiving around one-third of their pre-Covid Working Holiday Visa application volume since their borders opened in December last year.
“If New Zealand wants to offer a gold standard experience to tourists, then we need the labour – and what we can learn from Australia is that we need to be a more attractive destination.
“Yet Minister Faafoi, in what’s become typical fashion for him, is sitting back with his feet up, doing nothing to ensure that we incentivise working holiday-makers to come to New Zealand.
“At a minimum, we must at least match what Australia is offering to these workers or we risk missing out on what is already a small pool of workers.”
To make New Zealand an attractive destination for working holiday-makers, National is proposing that the Government:
refund the visa application fee for all Working Holiday Visa holders who arrive before 31 July 2022.
raise the working holiday age limit from 30 to 35 for all eligible countries.
allow anyone who has already had a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand to apply for a second visa.
allow visa holders to apply for a second and then third Working Holiday Visa if they work in tourism, hospitality or agriculture, with other sectors to be considered based on labour need.
automatically grant a three month visitor visa to each Working Holiday Visa holder after they have completed 12 months in New Zealand, if they are not eligible to apply for a second visa.
immediately open applications to all countries we offer a Working Holiday Visa to.
“These incentives will attract more working holiday-makers and accelerate their arrival into New Zealand at a time when competition for these workers is intense. They will also help address the crippling labour shortages damaging many of our sectors reliant on these workers.”