Retaining your staff

In such a time of uncertainty The Regions discuss the great value of retaining staff.

Working with what you’ve got

At The Regions, we work with farms, farm workers and their families for better employment opportunities.

Traditionally, we have looked overseas to fill these opportunities, but COVID-19 has forced us to embody our values to support, adapt, and grow.

The New Zealand border is currently closed to almost all travellers wanting to travel to New Zealand by either air or sea.

There are two reasons why you might be allowed to travel to and enter New Zealand while the border is closed — either:

  • you qualify as someone to whom the border closure does not apply, or
  • Immigration NZ consider that you have a critical purpose for travel while the border is closed and grant you a visa which recognises this.

The challenge of calving season 

Calving season is now upon us, where the number of cattle on our dairy farms doubles for a 3 to 4 month period. As it stands, the industry faces a disturbing number of vacancies across the nation’s farms, totalling at least 1,000 across New Zealand.

With the closure of our borders to combat the spread of the virus, like many other sectors, we need to review how we go about solving the problem that COVID-19 has caused.

Urgent help is needed for these farm owners and managers to ensure they do not face unnecessary animal welfare, environmental, and health and safety issues due to being understaffed. 

What does this mean for our primary sector?

Your workforce – actual or required – is essentially already in the country for the foreseeable future. 

Prior to COVID-19 disruptions, The Regions had over 300 requested engagements from employers wanting to hire New Zealand-new staff this dairy season. 

Vacancies exist on our clients’ farms because the dairy industry doubled in size over the past 20 years, and because our cows are located in our rural corners, while most of our people are located in urban centres.

Understanding the immigration changes

We currently represent a number of employers who have existing staff stuck outside New Zealand, who, under normal circumstances, reside here on a work visa or work to residence visa.

Central to our role during these unprecedented times has been translating all the change to immigration policy during COVID-19 into information that can be easily understood.

Loyal, hardworking migrant workers are needed here for the long-term. For employers with staff already, now might be the time to look to get your existing staff on the path to residence. Things like improving English skills will become increasingly crucial as part of the residence requirements, so now is the time to invest in your people.

These continue to be extraordinary times, with many people in different head spaces, therefore it is critical for employers to continue to treat their workers with respect, loyalty, honesty, and integrity.

We also welcome any new clients to contact us regarding your immigration matters. The Regions has the time and expertise to review CVs and check references for the skills you are looking for.

What can we do for you?

At The Regions, we are now recruiting from a range of audiences such as existing migrants, backpackers, and of course Kiwi residents here in New Zealand. Entering the workforce would also be a sensible move for student and visitor visa holders who cannot leave New Zealand. 

We know that there are many work visa holders inside New Zealand, displaced from their previous jobs and regions due to COVID-19. Some migrant workers will be in New Zealand for the foreseeable future as their countries are not offering any help to fly home.

This is the time to consider upgrading from your temporary work visa to a work to residence visa. As a resident, you will be able to stay in New Zealand indefinitely and access most publicly funded services.

There is huge value in securing these three-year visas for those who are eligible, as it moves you into the skilled visa category which means – subject to the borders being opened – family reunification can occur sooner.

If you are unemployed, or have been displaced at work get in touch with The Regions with your CV.

Call to Action  

The Regions is committed to providing quality advice and finding the best solution for you. We understand that not all problems have the same solutions and that the Immigration New Zealand Policy changes can create uncertainty for many. If you have any questions or need further information or clarification around these changes, please do not hesitate to contact The Regions. 

We are committed to looking for the best solutions to support you to change your life and situation for the better.

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