Kiwis who have registered to work across the Tasman have been told they have to wait a bit longer because of the "massive response" to the Western Australia mine jobs.
Recruitment company Reciprocus said more than 3000 New Zealanders had registered their interest for jobs in Perth and Sydney, and it was taking longer than expected to go through the CVs.
Director Douglas Foster said negotiations were ongoing with mining companies, and it would be only around mid-August that the first lot of workers would be sent over. Besides mining jobs in Perth, Mr Foster said his firm was also recruiting for engineering positions in Sydney.
Mr Foster said his staff were still in the process of going through the CVs and adding applicants' details to the database. Jobs will be offered on a "fly-in, fly-out" arrangement, where Kiwi workers will be expected to pay their own way to and from Australia, with the employer only responsible for ground transportation.
Mr Foster said his company was also negotiating with Mondo Travel and Qantas to provide discounted international fares for the workers, who would work five weeks and get a fortnight off.
"We've received a massive response from New Zealanders, and it's taking a little bit more time than we expected because of this huge response that we've had. With what people will be earning at the mines, they will still be much better off even after paying their own airfares."
Mr Foster attributes the strong interest to earning much higher salaries without having to uproot families, and the ease of working in Australia where New Zealanders do not need a visa. Job seminars run by Reciprocus in Kaikohe and Ruakaka last month attracted more than 2000 job seekers.
Tracy Dalton, Far North District councillor for the Kaikohe/Hokianga ward, said she supported the scheme.
"I am realistic that people want work, sadly there are few options for them here, and if this option of returning home to Kaikohe works, I support it," Ms Dalton said.
"It could work as a stepping stone of the best of two worlds ... working for your dollar is better than any other option." The population of Kaikohe is about 4,100 and official figures show that 2499 people in and around the town are getting an unemployment benefit.
Thousands of New Zealanders have gone to Perth in the past 12 months and thousands more are expected to add to the exodus.
Western Australian Unions have condemned the scheme, claiming employers would favour workers who paid their own airfares over Australian job-seekers.
This week more than 3000 unionists marched in Perth to protest against imported workers and a lack of training resources.By Lincoln Tan Email Lincoln