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Breaking news for essential skills visa holders and employers

It has been much discussed in employers’ circles that Immigration NZ is slow and painful to deal with. But now there could quite well be light at the end of that tunnel, where we as employers aren’t having to deal with them as often.

Recently the Government and Immigration NZ gave Essential Skills Visa holders paid below the median wage the ability to apply for a longer visa to remain in their current role.

This decision extends the maximum duration of an Essential Skills Visa for a job paid below the median wage from 12 to 24 months. The duration of Essential Skills visas for roles paid the median wage or above will still be up to three years.

Applications still currently need to be completed via a paper form, but from 30 August this will all become streamlined, and applications can be lodged online, saving everyone some much needed trees and of course some time.

This is also great news for many industries that have been hit by the skills shortage since the boarders closed last year.

Many employers have been concerned that they would be losing even more staff due to expiring visas.

With the skill shortages impacting employers hard – amongst the many other challenges business are currently facing with supply and rising compliance costs – it’s an employee’s market, making it incredibly challenging for employers to recruit people into their businesses. 

Essential skills demand growing

Looking at immigration New Zealand’s current skill shortage list, also known as the essential skills in demand list, it is growing by the day and contains many roles in nearly every industry.

There are three lists in total including a long-term skill shortage, regional skill shortage and construction and infrastructure skill shortage.

The lists are put together by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) based on industry feedback.

Skill shortages happen for a variety of reasons including an aging work force, not enough workers with the right skill set available and skilled workers leaving for greener pastures.
Obviously closing the borders early last year has amplified the current shortage, with many skilled international workers being unable to obtain the relevant visa’s to enter.

The skills shortage is having a massive impact over all industries and will continue to do so over the coming years.

With many school leavers choosing to head into the work force and filling some of the lower-level jobs over attending higher level education, we will see that the flow on to industries such as Finance, Healthcare and IT services that have already been hit hard.

With the skill shortages impacting employers hard – amongst the many other challenges business are currently facing with supply and rising compliance costs – it’s an employee’s market, making it incredibly challenging for employers to recruit people into their businesses.

We are seeing wage and salary rates rising quickly, and employers having to be creative with total remuneration packages and benefits.

It is with this in mind that it is imperative that you source help from the professionals to ensure you have a strategy in place for both retaining and developing your current team, and recruiting your future workforce.

Read: It’s not easy being an employer in 2021

Kellie Hamlett
Director, Recruitment & HR Specialist, Talent ID Recruitment Ltd. She can be contacted on kellie@talentid.co.nz or 027 227 7736

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