UK workers top list of constructors heading for Christchurch
Brits with experience in the construction industry are flocking to New Zealand to work on the rebuild of Christchurch after the two devastating earthquakes destroyed most of the city centre.
Britain, the Philippines and Ireland are topping the list of countries providing labour to reconstruct New Zealand’s South Island capital. The UK topped the list, with 214 visas issued to date, with the Philippines coming second with 80 visas and Ireland third with 69.
Workers from the US received 29 visas, bit no other world country reached double figures. The numbers apply to visas issued between July 2011 and August this year, with an Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman adding that 11,795 working holiday visas were granted to applicants from the UK and Ireland, many of whom, she thought, would be working on the rebuild.
Insurance loss adjusters and quantity surveyors were popular occupations. Painters, carpenters, joiners and engineers have been granted visas, she said, and Alex Bourma, chairman of the Canterbury Employment and Skills Board, said that Irish and British links to New Zealand were healthy and Filipinos were well suited to the jobs on offer.
He added the country has a good cultural synergy with the Philippines, as English is spoken and there is a highly skilled workforce waiting to be tapped. Manila, he said, is clearly in a boom time for construction, with new high-rises going up all over the city and Christchurch companies such as Leighs Construction recruiting carpenters from the islands.
Local expertise, Bouma believes, is essential, but foreign recruitment is also invaluable as there aren’t the necessary numbers of experienced workers such as quantity surveyors to do the jobs. The rebuild is due to begin in earnest early next year.
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