PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 12 April 2022 -
New border exceptions an admission of failure
New exceptions from immigration rules will do little to ease the critical skills shortage in New Zealand’s primary sectors and reflect the Immigration Minister’s incompetence, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
On Tuesday the Government announced 1580 border exceptions for workers in the dairy, meat processing and forestry industries, far less than the sectors desperately need, Ms Stanford says.
“This announcement is the Government admitting yet again that we have a severe skills shortage in New Zealand.
“But rather than opening up the border to desperately needed workers across multiple sectors, the Government is picking winners and deciding who gets skilled workers based on who has the best lobby group.
“Why are we relying on a fairly small number of border class exceptions to fill skills shortages when the whole country is crying out for workers?
“While we are happy for the selected industries, which all desperately need workers, the announcement will do nothing for huge sectors of the economy which face major worker shortages.
“The latest round of class exceptions reflect the Minister of Immigration’s incompetence in failing to get the new work visa up and running before July. Kris Faafoi has had two years to prepare and he is the biggest handbrake on our economic recovery right now.
“Even the exception numbers announced aren’t enough. The Dairy allocation is a third of what the industry requires and fills only a quarter of the current advertised meat processing roles that haven’t been able to be filled.
“Border exceptions have proved to be horribly inefficient, with many allocations not bringing in the numbers they promised due to the overly bureaucratic process that involved multiple ministries.
“National is calling on the Immigration Minister to bring forward the employer accredited work visa scheme to allow all sectors to start to bring in the skilled workers they need to get this country moving.”