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Border reopening 31 July

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced a package of reforms, which include an early opening of New Zealand’s border and an immigration ‘rebalance’, to address the immediate skill shortages in New Zealand.

  • Border fully open two months early from 11:59pm 31 July
  • Simplified immigration processes that provide faster processing for businesses
  • New Green List that includes over 85 hard to fill roles
  • Visa extensions for around 20,000 migrants already in New Zealand
  • New sector specific agreements, to help industries transition from a reliance on low-wage, low skill migrant labour, including additional measures to support the rebuild of our tourism sector
  • Cruise ships able to return with the opening of the maritime border from 31 July
  • Full resumption of international education from 31 July
  • Apprenticeship Boost extended to the end of 2023, supporting an extra 38,000 New Zealanders into trades
  • Online visitor visa applications reopen to Pacific Island Forum countries (excluding Australia) from 16 May

This is welcome news for our industry and gives travelers from markets like China and India the confidence to book their travel to NZ. However our industry desperately needs skilled workers and with more tourists set to arrive, our businesses need to be operating at 100 per cent to help our sector recover. 

Although no hospitality jobs are on the new ‘Green List’  the associations lobbying efforts have resulted in the government giving an exception for our industry in the short term. The Government has agreed to temporarily exempt tourism and hospitality businesses from paying the median wage to recruit migrants on an Accredited Employer Work Visa into most roles. Instead, a lower wage threshold of $25 per hour will be required until April 2023.

With labour shortages risk having a negative impact on the quality of our industries offering and we are grateful at today’s announcement that the move to the median wage to recruit migrants on an Accredited Employer Work Visa into most roles will be phased in over the next 12 months for tourism and hospitality businesses.

After months of advocacy raising awareness of the pressure on our industry caused by staff shortages, this decision will provide relief to many who have battled 18 months of uncertainty. We still have a number of ongoing concerns around the rebalance settings and what this will mean for our industry, and we look forward to meeting with Ministers in the coming weeks for further discussions about the future of hospitality in Aotearoa.

You can read the full release here

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