Do you employ migrant workers?
Does your business have an immigration strategy?
There are around 192,000 migrant workers in New Zealand, many of them on temporary work visas. They may not be able to stay long-term without being able to make an application for residence.
The Minister of Immigration has indicated that the New Zealand borders will remain closed until 2022 and, even when travel is normalised, immigration will not be allowed to return to former levels due to forthcoming changes in the immigration system and visa rules.
Immigration changes include:
the implementation of compulsory Employer Accreditation from July 2021 for employers sponsoring temporary work visa applications; and
a review of the Skilled Migrant Residence category.
In this Covid-19 environment, businesses will find it difficult to operate and even more difficult to employ migrant workers.
At the same time, New Zealand’s unemployment rate in the December 2020 quarter was only 4.9%, a far cry from the predictions made by many sources during the April 2020 lockdown.
Having been through several cycles of Immigration changes since we started working in this industry (in 2004), our prediction is that, with unemployment at these levels, employers will soon start finding it hard to recruit and retain staff with enough skills and experience. (Anecdotally, many are already.)
What is your plan? Do you have an Immigration strategy, or do you need one? Let’s talk over a cup of coffee.
What will you do if you cannot access or secure migrant workers in the same way as previously?
The current environment is fast-moving, with rule changes coming out as often as weekly.
When New Zealand went into Alert level 4 lockdown in March 2020, we contacted key clients in different industries who we knew would rely heavily on their migrant workforce to bring them through the next few years - and we worked out an Immigration Strategy.
All of those clients are in a pretty good position now.
We mapped out a strategy for visa renewals, looking ahead to staff whose visas would be expiring over the next two years.
We predicted and advised them on changes we thought would be implemented, and how that would impact on their staff.
We managed rolling visa extension programmes to secure their key staff visas by the time any changes were introduced. We weren’t just looking at visa expiry dates as an admin exercise - because of our HR background, we helped them to assess this holistically, taking account of organisation structure, remuneration levels and many other factors so they could decide what actions to take at the optimum time.
Do you need an Immigration strategy?
Let’s talk over a cup of coffee.