Visa call welcomed
Posted at 12:26pm Tuesday 12 Oct, 2021
Business and tourism leaders have welcomed the Government decision to issue 165,000 resident visas.
The announcement would come as a huge relief for employers and their teams, Ignite Wānaka Chamber of Commerce general manager Naomi Lindsay said.
“Covid-19 has presented the business community with such uncertainty, and this is one step to helping provide some certainty in this current climate.
"It enables businesses to retain their key talent. There are a number of migrant employees in the Southern Lakes that provide essential skills and value to businesses, and it will be welcomed by them. They can now better plan with these staff members in mind.
“Our migrant community also contribute extensively to our community, so it's great news that many of these members of our community can now stay and truly make Wanaka their home".
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult commended the Government, and in particular immigration minister Kris Faafoi following the announcement of a one-off resident visa for up to 165,000 migrants.
“We have been advocating strongly for the support by central government for our migrant workforce for years. While our support is always with jobs for Kiwis first, the reality is that our economy has been reliant on migrant workers for decades,” he said.
“Put simply there are not enough Kiwis wanting to do the jobs available, and without our wonderful migrant workers we would not have been able to make the contribution to NZ's economy that we have.”
“Businesses in our district have long been heavily reliant on migrant workers – both temporary and those who bring much needed skills – choosing to make Queenstown and the Upper Clutha home. Seeing those folks who want to stay here, who have begun building a life here, struggle with the stress of uncertainty has been heart-breaking. I have spoken much about this in the past, and today I am truly delighted that this announcement has come,” said Mayor Boult.
Destination Queenstown chief executive Paul Abbot was also pleased.
The one -off 2021 Resident Visa is a very welcome step forward to help the struggling tourism sector, he said.
“I think more could have been done to give higher priority to tourism employees over and above primary sector employees but regardless I'm sure tourism operators in the region will appreciate the support being shown.”
He said overseas workers here on temporary visas had shared the pain of lockdowns and the negative impact on tourism operations “so it is great to see that for many they will now have the opportunity to be part of the recovery and will have a long-term future in New Zealand”.
Mayor Boult said business in the district already have enough of a challenge on their plate “and I know that they will be relieved and delighted in the knowledge that they can secure these valuable staff permanently”.
“This will give them some confidence to keep pushing through these tough times with good people on board.”