The Government has announced a new temporary work visa process to help 25-30,000 businesses "get the workers they need".
The changes, in response to the country's skill shortages, include introducing an employer-led framework, negotiating and introducing sector agreements to plan for future workforce needs and reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand.
Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway announced the plans during a visit to Cantabria Rest Home in Rotorua today.
"Together, these changes represent a significant shift in the way our temporary work visa system operates," Lees-Galloway said.
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"It will make the process of hiring a foreign worker easier and more straightforward. It will also provide more certainty for employers due to upfront checks, while also increasing expectations on employers to train and employ more New Zealanders.
"The new employer-assisted temporary work visa process is more streamlined and less complex, replacing six visa categories with one temporary work visa, and it ensures there is an employer check, a job check and a worker check," Lees-Galloway said.
"The process allows us to ensure foreign workers are only recruited for genuine shortages, helps us reduce exploitation, and creates better connections between immigration, education and welfare systems.
Lees-Galloway said the new visa system would require all employers to be accredited and would give employers more certainty about their ability to hire a foreign worker earlier in the application process.
The change follows public consultation held between December last year and March 2019, when 947 submissions were received.
Currently, there are more than 54,000 workers on the main employer-assisted work visa – the essential skills visa.