The Christchurch rebuild is only 30% complete and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has forecast that an additional 5,000 construction workers will be needed between December 2014 and the peak of the rebuild in December 2016. This represents a great opportunity for migrants with a construction skills set to obtain a job offer and apply for a visa and contribute to the rebuilding of Christchurch.
To assist with the visa process, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has announced the introduction of changes to work visa Immigration Instructions to make it easier for employers and labour hire companies in Canterbury to recruit and retain migrant workers for the Canterbury rebuild, finally!
“Supporting the Canterbury rebuild is one of the Government’s four main priorities and we need to remove barriers to employers recruiting migrant workers when New Zealanders are not available to do the work,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Three significant changes have been made to streamline visa processes:
1. The maximum duration of Essential Skills visas for lower-skilled occupations in Canterbury will be extended from one year to three years for applications received between July 2015 and December 2016. The skills set that this change will affect are Level 4 occupations, such as Heavy Plant Operators, Scaffolders, Steel Fixers, Labourers and Heavy Good Vehicle Drivers, just to name a few.
The change also means that applicants in the above skills set will no longer have the uncertainty of applying annually to renew their visa – this will mean less paper work for these applicants and their employers – good news all around!
2. Holders of Essential Skills work visas granted after 1 July 2015 working in Canterbury will now be allowed to change employers (within the same occupation) without having to go through the process of applying for a Variation of Conditions (VOC) on their visa.
This change will enable migrant workers to move between jobs more easily – a freedom of movement within the Canterbury region. Those who have been granted Essential Skills work visas, before these changes, will be able to apply for a VOC to remove the condition stating the employer on their visa and therefore they will not have to apply for a VOC to change employer in future.
3. The final change in policy is the introduction of an accreditation scheme for labour hire companies that recruit and employ migrant workers on Essential Skills work visas. Labour hire companies that employ workers in the construction sector in Canterbury must obtain accreditation by 1 January 2016.
This change will ensure that there is a commitment to training and employing New Zealanders and good workplace practices of labour hire companies. These companies will be scrutinised and their training and employment practices need to meet a minimum criteria, to be able to employ migrants – this will protect migrants!
The above changes are long overdue and will make it easier for employers and labour hire companies to recruit and retain workers in Canterbury, however there will be an emphasis on employers looking after their work force given the freedom of movement within the Canterbury labour market.
In addition to this overseas migrants will be more likely to consider a move to the Canterbury region as a three work visa is certainly better that a one year work visa, so from an attraction stand point, the changes are very positive.
We will be holding seminars in June in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow to explain the new visa process and how this could affect you and how we can assist you to obtain a job offer in the Canterbury region. Find out more and register here.
Work opportunities in Christchurch
The rebuild of Christchurch is expected to create unprecedented demand for people with a construction skill-set in the Canterbury region. There is currently demand for skilled workers, particularly Quantity Surveyors, Project Managers, Site Managers; there is also huge demand for tradesmen such as Carpenters, Joiners, Electricians, Plasterers, Scaffolders, Ceiling Fixers, Heavy Plant Operators, HGV Drivers and many more.
The Canterbury Skill Shortage List highlights occupations that are needed for the Christchurch rebuild and economic recovery.
New Zealand Skills in Demand
We work in partnership with New Zealand Skills in Demand who specialise in matching candidates to job opportunities with New Zealand employers. If you have a skills set listed above or on the Canterbury Skills Shortages List, New Zealand in Skills in Demand can assist with job placement. New Zealand Skills in Demand have helped over 250 individuals gain job offers in the last 18 months and realise their New Zealand dream.
Next Step: Attend ‘This is New Zealand’ Seminars
Very soon we’ll be holding our quarterly “This Is New Zealand” Seminars in June in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. The events are held to help people get a better insight into living and working in New Zealand. These seminars are sponsored by Bank of New Zealand and co-hosted with well know companies such as New Zealand Skills in Demand, MoneyCorp, PSS removals and Migration Cover, so you get to hear about every step of the journey, from money to jobs to the big move, and the details on working and living in NZ. The Seminars are different from big exhibitions, they offer a more in depth and personal experience to exploring New Zealand Migration. They are extremely popular and have helped many people start their journey towards their NZ dream. To find out more and to register click here.
I look forward to seeing you at a Seminar and telling you more about this new process.
Borey Chum LL.B. B.A.
Licensed IAA Immigration Adviser 201000162
Enrolled barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand