INDEPENDENT NEWS

Immigration Changes Wrong For Queenstown

Published: Tue 6 Nov 2007 09:57 AM
Media Release - MP Otago Jacqui Dean - 7 November 2007
Dean – Immigration Changes Wrong For Queenstown
Otago MP Jacqui Dean said she was concerned that a tightening of immigration regulations could see Queenstown’s supply of hospitality staff cut off at the knees and she intended to make the region’s case known.
The Government is currently reviewing schemes which fast-tracked work permits and allowed overseas workers into the country to fill jobs.
But Mrs Dean said while a review might be needed to keep overseas workers out of jobs that kiwis could fill in other parts of the country, Queenstown had a special case because it simply did not have an unemployment problem.
“There’s no point in claiming that these workers are taking jobs away from Kiwis – read the statistics, there is no unemployment in Queenstown.
“Queenstown is a unique region which, I believe, has a special case when it comes to securing unskilled overseas workers to meet the needs of the tourism and hospitality sectors.”
And Mrs Dean said any changes could very well cost these industries dearly.
“There’s an identified shortage of unskilled staff in Queenstown, so by moving the goal-posts here and blocking overseas workers the Government is effectively cutting off the lifeblood of the country’s fastest growing regions.
“This is a short-sighted policy shift which is, and will continue to have, far-reaching ramifications for business in Queenstown.
“I just think it’s really sad that the Government would consider sabotaging growth in Queenstown by cutting off the region’s supply of willing workers in this way.”
Mrs Dean said she intended to bring the matter up with Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove to ensure that he was aware of Queenstown’s special needs.
ends

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