Magnificent Jacinda Adern drops hammer on temporary work visas

New Zealand’s Adern Government has taken the sensible step of restricting temporary visa numbers to ensure that foreign labour does not compete against unemployed New Zealanders:

Both big and small companies are scrambling to hang on to their workforces, with thousands of temporary resident visas set to expire all at once….

There were about 350,000 temporary visa holders in the country during the lockdown, and the government estimated more than 200,000 of them had work visas with conditions that might need to be varied.

However, Immigration New Zealand was not renewing or issuing any new visas until it was satisfied there was no citizen or permanent resident available to do the applicant’s job…

Employers who wanted to keep temporary visa holders on as staff must readvertise their jobs, interview applicants and then offer any qualified candidates the position.

They would also need to satisfy Immigration they had done a thorough job and made a genuine effort.

Some of those roles would also require a skills match test, which was another time-consuming and potentially costly process…

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway… cautioned that migrants need to be realistic about what opportunities will be available.

“In recent years we’ve had a labour market that has been highly dependent on the migrant workforce, and people could anticipate that visas would simply be rolled over because the work was there,” but he said that had changed with growing unemployment in New Zealand…

Treasury estimated the unemployment rate has since climbed to 7.3 per cent in the three months ended in June, and would peak at 9 per cent, later this year.

“We always put New Zealanders at the front of the queue for jobs, and so people will need to look carefully at what is going on, what the prospects look like, and obviously make decisions for themselves about what’s right for them,” the minister said…

The hospitality sector, which was the last to fully emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown, and also employed a large proportion of temporary residents in low-skilled jobs, was facing the prospect of replacing a large number of staff in the next three months…

Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Julie White said a recent survey of members found one in five were currently advertising positions.

She said they were attracting many applicants, but few had the training and experience necessary to fill the positions, which were currently occupied by even low-skilled migrants.

Bravo. This is exactly how a ‘left’ government should act: protecting the working class.

Temporary work visas exist to plug ‘skills shortages’ across the economy and to provide flexibility.

That is, the migrant intake should expand when skills are needed, but then in times of economic dislocation and high unemployment those on temporary visas should return to their home countries. In turn, temporary work visas are designed to act as a shock absorber for the economy.

Given the New Zealand economy is experiencing a deep recession, now is the time for temporary migrant workers to return home.

Keeping them there would only worsen the unemployment queues, depress wages, and smash the working class.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. I guess they are going to start calling her a right wing nationalist now.
    Maybe she might start a trade war with Australia and announce tariffs on Manuka Honey.

    • Jumping jack flash

      What was left is now right and what’s right is wrong.
      The new left is antiestablishmentarianism.

          • Learnt of that word in Year 7 when we walked into our first English class in HS. Someone in Year 10 has scrawled it above the blackboard in chalk Stuck with me ever since.

        • ….which is a term relating to the establishment or otherwise of the church of england.

          • Yeah it has a rather boring meaning. It’s more about the length (Isn’t it always).
            Some people don’t like it to be mentioned because of Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

          • Bugger me, I thought it referred to the ire at the thought that it took 35 Govt employees to change a lightbulb.

    • The Nationals may have selected one as their new leader?
      As usual, go for the women when the going gets tough 🙁

    • Jumping jack flash

      The company I work for services most of NZ’s sheep processing plants and we’ve never been busier. We have a massive upgrade project currently in full swing, so it can’t be going too bad for them.

    • kiwikarynMEMBER

      Tourism industry is dead, and that was NZ’s biggest earner. Plus the education sector. Even the food industry is struggling with lots of cancelled export orders. Have seen a lot of companies trying to sell export meat, seafood and wine to the public as the hospitality sector overseas is no longer buying anything.

      • Interesting. Do you have any figures on the extent to which each industry sector has been affected, export-wise?

        Just curious

  2. kiwikarynMEMBER

    Don’t worry, in return for not renewing their work visas she’ll give them all residency so they don’t need a work visa and can go on the dole.

  3. BoomToBustMEMBER

    Companies have gotten lazy, its easier and cheaper to import someone who will work for peanuts than it is to hire a good Australian candidate (citizen) and invest training into them.

    • PaperRooDogMEMBER

      One of the biggest, if not the biggest, drivers of success is opportunity! If you give more Aussies the opportunity & support they will mostly rise to the challenge despite maybe having lower academic credentials on paper, but if the role goes to a foreign worker they will never get that chance and remain less productive & pay less taxes (then possibly become resentful as they see all the foreigners doing better than them)

      • The flip-side to that argument is that, why didn’t the locals jump on the opportunity when it was presented to them? Not good enough at the time? Now that someone who hasn’t got access to the dole has snapped it up ..

  4. That is just market testing BS.

    We need to copy Singapore and Saudi:

    Budget 2019: Foreign worker quota in services sector to be cut

    Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said businesses in the service industry will need to become “more manpower-lean”

    Saudi bans foreigners from certain jobs to give citizens more employment


    Wow. Cant wait to tell all the fake lefties on Reddit about this. Let the triggerening begin!

  6. This is smart politics which plays to Winston Peters voters.
    Remember, there is an election approaching.

  7. blacktwin997MEMBER

    Let’s not prematurely assume the circle jerk position lads, she’s got form on this kind of thing.

  8. The first sign post-election I’ve seen of the pre-election Ardhern. If she keeps it up I’ll consider moving. I’d rather my labours went to a society worthy of the name.

  9. You guys have short memories! Remember her pre election pledge to reduce immigration?
    Does a leopard change its spots? i hope so but don’t celebrate too early.

    • Mr SquiggleMEMBER

      +1. Immigration is an issue Aden is vocal about before an election and quiet as a church mouse after an election

  10. Sounds like a lie.
    If she was serious, she would actually ban certain industries from hiring migrants, slap a big tax on the payroll amount currently paid to migrants for existing permanent employee.
    She’s not serious and it won’t amount to anything. It’s just posturing for “NZ first” without saying it.