The spokesperson on immigration for New Zealand’s opposition Labour party has accused the NZ government of bringing in foreign workers to help out with the Canterbury rebuild at the expense of Kiwi workers.
According to Darien Fenton, “In the past 12 months, temporary visas have been granted to overseas workers to work as fork lift drivers, builder’s and other labourers, clerical and admin workers, painters and truck drivers – jobs that could have gone to out-of-work Kiwi workers with a little training.”
Fenton also claims that accusations of migrant worker abuse aren’t being sufficiently dealt with by the government.
“At a time when reports of migrant worker abuse in the Christchurch rebuild are increasing, there has been no completion of any prosecutions under either labour laws or the Immigration Act in the last year. Neither Immigration nor the labour arm of MBIE record the number of complaints or investigations of workers on temporary visas, thus making it impossible to know the size of the problem.
“What’s bizarre is they don’t seem to talk to each other or share information.”
Due to the destruction caused by a spate of earthquakes in the Canterbury region in the past few years, Immigration New Zealand has granted the region its own skills shortage list that allows any employers seeking particular workers to employ suitably qualified overseas workers from overseas if suitably skilled workers can’t be sourced locally.
Overseas qualifications must be comparable to the standard of the New Zealand qualification listed or a qualification listed in the New Zealand Standard