Fantastic News for Migrant Workers, But Is It Good News for Your Business?

There were huge sighs of relief across the country recently when the Government announced a new one-off residence visa pathway for some temporary work visa holders in New Zealand. If you were one of the many employers who responded to this fantastic news with thoughts along the lines of, “Hooray, finally I can have some certainty about keeping my migrant workers” – you might need to rethink your position.

While this immigration change is great news for the 165,000+ migrant workers and their families in New Zealand who have been living in limbo for quite a long time, it is not necessarily guaranteed good news for your business. The reality is, that once your skilled workers obtain residency, they will no longer be tied to you thorough their visa and will have other options open to them.

We understand that with the ongoing lockdowns, supply challenges, covid concerns and the controversies around workplace vaccination policies on top of all your normal workplace challenges – the prospect of potentially losing skilled migrant staff is the last thing you want to consider. However, if you want to have the best shot at keeping your skilled workers once they have the freedom to move on 1st December, I urge you act now to encourage them to stay.

Here’s our advice on how to keep your migrant workforce once they obtain residency.

Helping your migrant workers decide to stay working for you after they obtain residency starts with understanding why they are working for you in the first place, what their plans are, and how you can potentially provide them what they are looking for in your business. Here are some tips to get started…

  • Take the time to ask your workers what their plans are once they get residency.
  • If they tell you they are thinking about finding another job, moving cities, or starting their own business when they get residency, ask them what you could do to encourage them to stay.
  • Find what, if any, help your workers need to apply for residency, and how you can best support them and their family through this process.
  • Ask your workers why they decided to work for you and what they like the best about being part of your team.
  • What do your employees enjoy the most about their current roles and what changes/new responsibilities would inspire them to stay.
  • Find out what could be improved in your workplace to encourage your migrant workers to stay.
  • Find out what your competitors are paying and what sort of incentives they are offering.
  • Consider how your migrant workers engage with their colleagues and if there is anything you can address in your work culture to make it feel more inclusive.

Although gathering this information can be time consuming, the knowledge you gain is hugely valuable in helping you keep key employees.  The information you gather can go beyond encouraging an individual to stay, to shaping a workplace culture that will help you become an employer of choice in your industry.

We are currently working with a number of employers to help alleviate the serious concerns they have about retaining their migrant workers once the changes come in on 1st December.

We are here to help:

  • If you think your employees would respond more freely to questions about their future employment plans if they were asked by an independent outsider, our team can talk to them for you.
  • We can help you develop a mitigation strategy that will help you retain your migrant staff who are now eligible to apply for residency.
  • We can help your migrant team members prepare and submit residency applications for both themselves and their family.
  • We can help you develop a plan to become an employer of choice in your industry, with a working environment that will help you attract and retain skilled workers

Book a free chat:

We invite you to talk to us to find out how you can encourage your migrant workers to continue working with you after their residency is approved and they can easily choose to work elsewhere.

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