Government tightens rules on skilled migrants needed for Christchurch
The New Zealand Labour Party’s spokeswoman for earthquake recovery is demanding work visas for volunteers and jobless migrants helping to rebuild Christchurch after its devastating earthquakes.
Lianne Dalziel is urging the New Zealand government to relax the country’s stringent immigration and work permit rules on behalf of the volunteers and other workers who stayed to help rebuild the badly-damaged city after the earthquakes. Many of these were temporary migrants dependent on visas and work permits linked to their jobs, and were unemployed after the disaster as their places of work had been demolished.
Recently released figure from NZ’s immigration department show only 312 applicants have been granted visa and work permits to assist with the rebuild. Ms Dalziel states that those who offered their help in the rebuilding should be rewarded, not thrown out of the country after losing their jobs as a result of the natural disaster.
At the present time, visa applications for Christchurch are in decline as many employers have relocated their businesses elsewhere in the country due to the topographical instability and numerous aftershocks. Even so, according to the local immigration office, work visas for those wishing to help are being declined.
Ms Dalzeil is convinced there are enough jobs within the rebuild for skilled migrants as well as for local people and reminds the government that Labour MPs had earlier warned there would be an exodus of jobless skilled workers from Christchurch. Her concern is that immigration’s focus is on jobs for Kiwis, but she insists there’s enough work for everyone.
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