DairyNZ and Federated Farmers say they're pleased with the Government's announcement of extending employer assisted temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020.

DairyNZ people team leader Jane Muir said the six month extension was excellent news for farmers and the estimated 3000 dairy farm employees whose temporary visas are due to expire.

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"The dairy sector, farm employers and our farm employees on temporary visas have been calling on the government to provide a solution. We are pleased they have listened," Muir said.


"We are about to go into the busiest time of the farming year with calving and urgently sought certainty that farmers would be able to keep their existing staff".

In a statement, Federated Farmers and DairyNZ said they had repeatedly highlighted the plight of migrant workers needed by the dairy sector to the government, both those already working in the country and those stuck overseas.

"We need these people. They are key to our daily business on-farm," Federated Farmers immigration spokesperson Chris Lewis said.

DairyNZ had a GoDairy campaign underway to attract and train Kiwis for the 1000 additional jobs currently up for grabs on dairy farms.

"In the medium to long-term we expect to see dairy's reliance on migrants decrease but it will take time – our migrants have skills we can't replace quickly, they are highly valued and they can help train Kiwis," Muir said.

Immigration Minister Ian Lees-Galloway announced yesterday that the government was shifting a stand down period that applied to some migrants by six months to February 2021.

Migrant workers who were subject to the 12-month stand-down period and were going to have to leave New Zealand this year, will now be able to stay for the duration of the extension.