Labour calls for stricter New Zealand labour market tests
Following the granting of work visas to 110 Chinese manual workers by Immigration New Zealand, Labour is calling for stricter controls on labour market testing.
Darien Fenton, industrial relations spokeswoman for Labour, told the NZ parliament that INZ had granted the visas on the basis of there being no New Zealand nationals able to do the work or be adequately trained. The job was to build facades onto shop fronts on behalf of King Façade New Zealand.
According to Fenton, King Façade New Zealand had only advertised the positions with Work and Income after they had received permission to bring in the workers from China. She stated that, as a result, Work and Income would not have had time to train New Zealand workers for the job.
Foreign workers on fixed contracts, Fenton added, were cheaper to employ as the companies did not offer training or pay accumulated settlements. She confirmed that the Construction Union and the Council of Trade Unions had voiced their objections to King Façade’s application, but had been ignored.
King Façade, she said, had tendered for the contract without having workers to fill the positions, and INZ had aided them to bring in workers from China. A letter to the NZ government from the Northern Amalgamated Workers’ Union claims the statement by King Façade that workers with three years’ experience were needed for the job was a joke.
According to the union, in the past the job was done by unskilled workers who only needed a short period of training. Immigration Minister Nathan Guy disagreed, saying that labour market testing was protecting jobs in NZ.
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