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Too little, too late Minister Wood

PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 21 August 2022 -

Too little, too late Minister Wood

Today’s Working Holiday Visa announcement is too little too late, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“It will be a small relief to businesses that Immigration Minister Michael Wood has finally made some changes to the Working Holiday Visa. But for many businesses, driven to the brink by labour shortages over winter, it will be too late.

“Throughout this year, National has called on the Labour Government to urgency attract working holiday makers and extend the visas for those already in the country.

“At a time when New Zealand is facing extreme workforce shortages, Labour has yet again failed to act quickly. Valuable workers whose visas expired in July and August have already left.

“What’s also concerning is only 3,800 working holiday makers have arrived in the country this year – a fraction of the 50,000-70,000 pre-Covid.

“It was obvious at the start of the year that there was a reduced pool of working holiday makers available around the world. Australia understood the importance of getting as many as soon as possible by aggressively marketing to the world, opening applications in January, and refunding fees if they arrived before a certain date.

“New Zealand, on the other hand, is slowly opening up the Working Holiday Visa with many countries not able to apply until 2023, according to Immigration New Zealand’s website. The fees have also nearly doubled in cost.

“When pressed about the actions the Labour Government has taken to incentive working holiday makers to come here, Minister Wood could only point to an email campaign.

“Because of the staffing shortages, restaurants are forced to close their doors for two or three nights a week, and hotels have to ask guests to change their own sheets. Yet Labour has continued to move at a glacial pace, and it is businesses hurt most by Covid that are paying the price.”

Labour should have adopted National’s plan to:

  • Refund the application fees.

  • Raise the age limit to 35 years.

  • Immediately open applications to all countries we offer a Working Holiday Visa to.

  • Grant a six-month extension to the working holiday makers already in New Zealand with Visas expiring before the end of the year.

  • Allow anyone who has already had a Working Holiday Visa to apply for a second and third visa if they work in tourism, hospitality or agriculture.


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