INDEPENDENT NEWS

Hospitality NZ Welcomes Immigration Transition Plan

Published: Wed 11 May 2022 02:27 PM
Hospitality New Zealand is pleased the Government has heard its calls for an immigration transition plan for tourism, hospitality and accommodation businesses.
“The temporary exemption from paying the median wage $27.76 to recruit migrants on an Accredited Employer Work Visa and instead pay a lower threshold of $25 till April next year will come as a welcome relief to struggling businesses.
“But the reality is we need people now.
“This remains an additional cost for businesses to absorb, and will most likely come at the expense of paying Kiwis less.
“There simply aren’t enough Kiwis available to work in hospitality or accommodation so we need to look overseas, we need access to more labour at all levels, not just highly skilled,
“We need a transition plan to give us time to work towards where we need to be. We recently met with the Minister of Immigration and suggested a transition plan to give us time to work towards achieving an immigration rebalance.
“I don’t know one hospitality or accommodation business that can operate at 100% right now due to the labour shortage in New Zealand.
“When operators can’t operate at 100% this then becomes a shared problem for everyone, it affects operators, consumers and communities. It’s a real problem and it needs a real solution.
“A concern under the framework that may result in some businesses not being able to qualify to bring in skilled migrants under the Accredited Employer Work Visa because they won’t meet the criteria.
“They have to have either been profitable for the past 24 months, had positive cashflow for each of the past 6 months, have sufficient capital and external investments or funding, or have a plan to ensure their business remains viable, but after the past two years, very few will satisfy any of those criteria.
“Along with the inflationary pressures the reality will be higher prices for consumers and less choice.
“We’re trying our best to operate in these highly inflated times
“The bottom line is this: if we don’t get access to more labour, which includes migrants, how are we going to clean beds, or serve and welcome people, or deliver great customer experience, then how are we going to guarantee maanakitanga?”
Julie White says Hospitality NZ welcomes today’s announcement to temporarily exempt tourism and hospitality businesses from paying the median wage to recruit migrants on an Accredited Employer Work Visa into most roles.
“The lower threshold of $25 per hour till April next year for employing migrants in specified occupations will help ease the pressure on businesses.
“We also welcome the announcement the border re-opening will be in July rather than October as planned.
“That’s a great move, and it would be great now to remove pre-departure testing to go with that to really open things up. Our industry and the whole economy desperately needs that to happen as soon as possible.”

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