Officials in the New Zealand region of Southland are hoping that the influx of immigrants currently heading to Christchurch will eventually see more newcomers moving there as well.
Immigration New Zealand figures show that immigrant numbers to the Southland region have been falling annually since 2008, but Venture Southland Settlement Support co-ordinator Eirlys Beverley-Stone is confident a new initiative will soon start to see more people settling in the region.
Around 220 businesses based in the region have already committed to the Southland supply initiative, through which the businesses will employ new immigrant workers and then provide labour and services for the Christchurch rebuild – although the workers will stay based in Southland and work in the region when the rebuild is finished.
According to Immigration NZ estimates, between 10,000 and 17,000 new construction workers will be required across New Zealand in the next two years, and immigrant workers are deemed as being hugely important to fill labour shortages for the extra demand.
Ms Beverley-Stone believes that many Southland businesses were already employing immigrants or were considering employing them. “The rebuild will eventually have an impact on the pool of construction workers here in Southland,” she said.