New immigration settings will hinder NZ forestry

Friday 26 Apr 2024

Immediate changes to the Accredited Employer Worker Visa (AEWV) scheme were intended to ensure New Zealand attracts the skills it needs. But forestry, alongside other primary industries, is concerned the changes will create greater uncertainty for primary industry workforces. Changes to New Zealand's immigration settings were announced on 7 April by Immigration Minister, Hon Erica Stanford. 

The Forest Owners Association (FOA), the  Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA) and the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) submitted a joint letter to Minister Stanford outlining the impact on forestry and wood processing. 

Crucial points noted were the stress placed on employers health, safety and wellbeing from the potential staff shortages; the significant impact on business continuity under the new requirement that migrant workers must leave the country for 12 months before they can return and progress into a skilled worker category; and that many jobs in our sector are not well suited to the simple qualification tests that are now mandatory. 

While it is important to support infrastructure that will reduce pressures and migrant exploitation, the right balance must be struck between supporting rural employers, and therefore their communities

The FOA, WPMA and FICA have requested a meeting with Minister Stanford to find a resolution to these issues. 

Source: Forest Owners Association

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