Migrant workers can put down roots in Rodney thanks to new residency rules announced by the Government last month.
Restaurant and café owner Susan Vize says it levels the playing field for employers in Rodney, which have been losing workers due to a points-based system that disadvantages the Auckland region.
Susan has lost two employees recently because they were forced to move out of Auckland to qualify for a visa, but now hospitality workers on Essential Skills Visas have the confidence to put down roots.
“There was a big party in the kitchen here when the new rules were announced. The stress migrant workers have been under, worrying about their job and living situation, has been extraordinary,” Ms Vize says.
For Matakana hospitality worker Remi Ludsor the announcement could be “life-changing”.
Attaining residency would mean he has access to opportunities to upskill without having to pay exorbitant fees charged to migrant learners. It also means he can visit family in France without worrying that he will lose his visa for being outside the country for too long or for losing his job.
The new rules, announced by Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi, provide a pathway for people on several different working visas, who were in New Zealand on September 29, to gain residency.
The visas include the Essential Skills Visa, which many hospitality workers hold, as well as the Skills Shortage Visa, Post Study Work Visa and Accredited Employer Work Visa.
The Government estimates that around 165,000 workers will be able to apply for the visa and hopes that it will also encourage healthcare workers to settle in New Zealand.
However, the changes won’t do much to help address the crippling worker shortage that New Zealand employers have been grappling with since before lockdown, because it won’t bring new workers into the country.
Ms Vize hopes the Government will do more to provide would-be migrants access to managed isolation quarantine facilities and enable them to apply for work visas.
This year has seen the steepest fall in unemployment on record, plunging to four per cent in August. The average wage has increased by four per cent to $34.76 an hour.