The Government's changes to Temporary Work Visas have been welcomed by primary sector groups, who applaud the new, more streamlined system.
The changes mean there will only be one type of employer-assisted temporary work visa, the Temporary Work Visa, which foreign workers can apply for.
It replaces the six work visa categories currently in place, including the Long Term Skills Shortage visa, and the Talent Work to Residence visa.
Federated Farmers says it is confident the simpler temporary work visa process announced by the government will deliver for the regions.
"Our message that workforce and related problems experienced by the big cities are not necessarily those experienced in the provinces has been taken on board – we congratulate the government" said Feds employment spokesperson Chris Lewis.
"The changes will help ensure farmers and others can more easily employ migrants when they need them, and when the options for taking on and training suitable New Zealanders are exhausted."
By ditching the ANZSCO skill level classifications, there was much greater scope for a migrant worker to achieve career progression on farms, said Lewis.
"The changes incentivise farmers to invest in training and supporting migrant employees because there's a greater chance of keeping them than currently exists.
"We also acknowledge the government for its compassionate and pragmatic approach in reinstating the family entitlement for lower skilled visa holders. The migrant worker's children can be educated here, and their partner can get an open work visa"said Lewis.
"It's a positive for rural communities to have settled and content families, not just single men who may well be sending all their money home to their family".
The government has indicated the dairy industry is a likely early target group for one of the new sector agreements, containing specific terms and conditions for recruiting foreign workers.
"Federated Farmers looks forward to working with other Team Ag partners and the government to help get this sector agreement right," Lewis said.
Horticulture New Zealand also welcomed temporary work visas changes, saying they simplfiled the immigration system.
"The changes mean that it will be more straightforward to hire skilled workers from overseas to work in areas of New Zealand where there are few New Zealanders available for the work" said HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.
Chapman said in a statement that the changes also recognised that overseas workers play a significant role in industries such as horticulture.
"At the same time, the changes recognise the need to employ New Zealanders wherever possible but appreciate this is not always possible.
"New Zealand's primary sector is worth more than $46 billion in exports a year. The temporary work visa changes will help ensure our growing industry has access to skilled workers, particularly at peak planting and harvest times".
Chapman said HortNZ and other representative groups had been lobbying for changes to the current "complex and unfair" system for many years.
"The changes will take effect over the next couple of years as the detail is worked out with industry input.
"We will be working through the detail over the next couple of days and providing analysis to our grower members before the end of the week".