A number of highly skilled migrant workers on temporary visas stuck offshore is causing challenges for Kiwi dairy farmers, says Jane Muir.

"It's a big issue", DairyNZ's people team leader told The Country Early Edition's Rowena Duncum.

"We're about to head into our busiest time of year with calving and those 40 or so middle [to] highly skilled migrants are critical to the success of those farming businesses where they have jobs".

The workers, who were unable to get back to New Zealand because of Covid-19 border restrictions, were valuable not only to their employers but also employees, Muir said.


"In many cases these are the people that are responsible for managing the teams and training people up".

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Other challenging factors such as drought and Covid-19 were making the situation more difficult, and DairyNZ was concerned that a lack of skilled workers was adding more stress to farmers' lives, Muir said.

"These migrants have been in New Zealand for a long time. They have valid work visas ... New Zealand is home to them - we just want them back".

Migrant workers were also finding the situation tough and were "highly, highly stressed overseas trying their best to get back", Muir said.

DairyNZ had asked the Government for around 40 highly skilled or mid skilled workers to be let back into the country as soon as possible. Muir said DairyNZ also asked for more certainty around visa extensions for both lower and higher skilled migrants already in New Zealand.

"At the moment visas are being processed for dairy but we don't know if that's going to continue, or what it will look like in two weeks, or in one month, or in three months".

"Farmers really need to be able to plan what their farm teams will look like ... we need some certainty about what's going to happen".

Also in today's interview: Muir talked about options for Kiwi workers interested in a job in the dairy sector and DairyNZ giving away a rare green diamond.