‘Jobs For Kiwis’ Still Very Much In Force – Updated

(Scroll down for update – 2 September 2010)

Many times we have written about how ‘jobs for kiwis’ type policies were being used to make immigrants leave NZ, despite there being a shortage of local labour and how that was harming business. But, what’s really perverse is that NZ continues to try to attract paying immigrants – despite there being little work open to them when they arrive in the country.

The situation got so bad that at one point the Philippine Consul General, stationed in NZ, took the astonishing step of warning her citizens about NZ’s work to residence scheme:

Immigration New Zealand is not doing enough to warn would-be applicants about the difficulties of finding a job or telling them that Kiwis will be given preference by employers.

Immigration New Zealand continues to say what a great place this country is to come live and work in, but they cover up the fact that it is very difficult to find a job here, or that they will be treated as second-class workers under the scheme,” Ms Shi said.

“The work-to-residence is a myopic policy, because even if these migrants prove their worth in their jobs, employers cannot renew their contracts when their work permits expire, and have to first offer their jobs to Kiwis.

Well, more evidence emerged today that employers are still being made to recruit Kiwis (even if none are available) to do work currently being performed by immigrants.

It’s ‘tough luck’ if you’re an immigrant and have laid out thousands of dollars to emigrate, believing there are skills shortages for and employers waiting for you with open arms and cheque books Even if you are lucky enough to find work the chances are you may not be allowed to renew your visa when the time comes.

For background to this problem see posts tagged Jobs for Kiwis .

According to Stuff:

A Porirua company that maintains the air conditioning at Parliament claims its business will be damaged by Immigration New Zealand’s refusal to grant one of its staff a work permit.

Electron managing director Peter Alevizos said the company, which repairs and maintains electric motors, was finding it impossible to replace David Samuel, a Fijian. Mr Samuel, 29, is an experienced fitter and turner, but Immigration New Zealand has said there are local workers available to do the job.

Mr Alevizos has been told that Mr Samuel must leave the country within three months.

Since the recession, Immigration has tightened the rules governing the granting of work permits to foreigners. The policy aims to ensure New Zealanders get first call on all jobs, but some businesses claim it is damaging them because of skill shortages.

“We definitely fall into that category,” Mr Alevizos said.

The company has spent several months trying to find a replacement for Mr Samuel, but no credible candidates have emerged.

Mr Alevizos said Work and Income staff had told him the organisation was no longer advertising his vacancy as no one with the required skills was available in the Wellington region.

Electron carries out repairs, including emergency callouts, on electrical engines for a variety of customers, including large companies, hospitals and Wellington City Council. Mr Alevizos said he needed staff with a range of skills held by only a handful of people in the region.

If Mr Samuel, one of six staff, was forced to leave the country, it would lengthen the time it took to complete work and make it more difficult to carry out emergency repairs.

“It will certainly be detrimental to the business,” Mr Alevizos said.

Mr Samuel was a model employee. “He’s exactly the kind of person we need in this country. He just quietly gets on with his work.”

He came to New Zealand in 2000 after the George Speight-led coup, and decided he wanted to spend his life here.

He went back to Fiji to train because he was told there was a shortage in the fitter and turner trade, and gained extensive experience with electrical motors before returning in late 2009.

In December he was granted a three-month work visa, a month after fitter and turner was removed from Immigration’s skills shortage list.

His application for a two-year work permit was declined after a test of the labour market “found there were suitable New Zealanders that could fill the position”, according to Immigration.

Mr Samuel was informed that his application had been rejected by text message, which told him he had two weeks to leave the country.

After an appeal he was granted another three-month work permit to give Electron time to find a replacement and, if this was to prove impossible, to reapply.

“Samuel and Mr Alevizos are welcome to continue discussions with Immigration New Zealand,” said a statement attributed to acting Immigration head Stephen Dunstan. No one from the Labour Department, of which Immigration is part, was available for interview.

June Ranson, managing director of immigration advisers Woburn International, said Immigration appeared to be relying on out-of-date statistics when conducting its labour market tests, even when Work and Income indicated that there was no one available for jobs.

“There’s not enough business-minded thinking going into these cases.”

Earlier this month restaurant owners complained of a shortage of experienced chefs in New Zealand, and that it was becoming increasingly difficult to get work permits for skilled foreign staff. Immigration officials promised to review the way they granted work permits to chefs as hospitality officials warned that the policywas damaging the industry. “

Update 2 September 2010

Couple told to leave NZ

A Romanian couple’s dream of a new life in New Zealand is in tatters after the Government ordered them to leave the country. Cristian and Adriana Burada will leave their home of three years this weekend after appeals to the Associate Immigration Minister and Immigration New Zealand failed….

…The Buradas had been hit by inconsistencies between Immigration NZ and Work and Income, he said.  His firm was seeing many cases where a temporary resident had a job offer but because WINZ incorrectly informed Immigration NZ a New Zealander could do the work, the work permits were being declined.

“It is creating a lot of problems for skilled migrants who have the potential to gain permanent New Zealand residency,” he said.

Also read

  • Another British Migrant may be Forced to Leave NZ – “It looks as if there is evidence that the colloquially named “Jobs for kiwis” policy may still be being implemented in New Zealand. A highly regarded British employee may be forced to leave the country because his work permit may not be renewed despite his employer being unable to find someone to fill the post…” December 2009
  • Another Migrant Family Left High and Dry – ” The mum is gainfully employed as a very much needed residential care worker. When she applied for a renewal of her work permit Immigration New Zealand (INZ) “decided not to renew it”. She’s appealing against that decision and INZ been placed her on a visitor’s permit until the outcome is known, this means she can no longer work and is left without an income…” July 2009
  • Jobs For Kiwis: Skilled Migrants Not Getting a Fair Deal on Work Permit Extensions – “The Motor Trade Association has added its voice to the outcry over the ‘jobs for Kiwis’ policy which has resulted in some migrants being denied work permit renewals, despite holding secure jobs. Many migrants are being told to leave NZ just weeks after their extensions are refused or warned to face the consequences of remaining in the country illegally.” July 2009

More on the “jobs for kiwis” policy and INZ shortcomings:
Migrants groups push to end ‘hypocrisy’ (9 July) – new migrants still arriving but no jobs
Government brain drain explosion (9 July) – StatsNZ show there’s no brain drain
New Zealand PM implores Kiwis to leave Australia and come home (7 May)
South African Family kicked out (2 March)
NZ Government warned against limiting temp work visas
Colin Kemp, INZ’s shifting goal posts and the skill shortage list
Migrants treated like waste products
South African to be deported after change in policy
Redundant migrants ‘forced out’
Immigrants deceived
Government website claims mislead migrants
NZ accused of anti-immigration work visa policy