With hospitality still trying to recover from the wake of Covid-19 our businesses are under immense pressure. We all love our local restaurants and cafes, but what would it be like if businesses had to close because they couldn’t find enough staff to keep the doors open?
The bulk of the hospitality industry is run by owner operators that work in their business 24/7. Along with their staff they serve us all with their hard work and dedication. However, hospitality skill shortages are currently the industry’s major stressor and we find ourselves at what can only be described as crisis level. Work is underway for long term solutions, however, in the short term we’ve been hard pressed to convince the government that our migrant workers are filling a critical people gap. The reality is that without them hospitality is suffering significantly.
Before Covid-19 hit and closed our borders upwards of 25% of our workforce were international work visa holders. While borders have been closed access to these skilled international workers has essentially been turned off, however, the government has indicated that even as borders begin to reopen immigration policy will likely mean that they will still be largely inaccessible.
Losing them is enough to make a difference so big that it can affect a business in catastrophic ways.
What is the Restaurant Association doing?
We are launching a campaign to draw attention to our current staffing crisis. This focuses on a need to “Reset”. The idea is to push pause on current policy, get alongside the government to reset the conversation. We’re not being antagonistic – we are wanting an open dialogue and to work together for the best outcomes. It’s about changing the course of the current path, steering the direction into a new way of thinking and getting our members on board as we band together to make our industry better.
Our campaign is focused on highlighting the challenges and our key requests to government and includes a petition, letter templates for businesses owners to download and adapt to send to local MP’s and Ministers, “lights out” and stop work events and more.
While the campaign is led by the Restaurant Association this is a collective action with input already from a number of members from across the country. We’re asking for your support too. Special acknowledgment to Chand Sahrawat (Cassia, Sid at the French Cafe, Sidart).
We need a RESET of our immigration settings now!
What are our key requests to Government?
- Engage in meaningful dialogue with the Association as industry representatives, regarding the skill shortages and immigration policy to work towards short term and long term solutions.
- Provide an additional visa extension for employer-assisted work visa holders currently in New Zealand.
- Pause the planned immigration salary threshold increase to $27.00.
- Allow border exceptions for “other critical workers” from other industries, such as hospitality, where there is a proven need.
- Allow student visas work time to be extended (as per Australia).
- Appoint a Minister of Hospitality, or a dedicated hospitality unit within MBIE.
Show your support of what we are trying to achieve – help spread the word. You can download our social media action pack below with tiles for you to share. More assets will be added throughout the campaign, including information/posters on the “lights out” and stop work events, so keep checking back for updates.