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Outrage over visa extensions for Rugby World Cup

Published: 6:05PM Tuesday May 24, 2011 Source: ONE News

EXCLUSIVE: A policy change means New Zealanders wanting to get a job during the Rugby World Cup will now face more competition from migrant workers.

ONE News has found that Immigration New Zealand has been encouraging migrants to take jobs created from the tournament.

Usually when someone applies to work in New Zealand, and their job offer does not specify an end date, they are given a 12 month visa.

But immigration officials have been told to make sure visas for low skilled jobs in hospitality and accommodation last until three weeks after the Rugby World Cup ends in October.

Since September last year, unskilled, English speaking workers have been given no-questions asked extended visas.

Immigration New Zealand will also stop doing what it calls 'labour market checks' in the coming months if there is still a perceived labour shortage. That means it will stop checking whether there is anyone in New Zealand qualified to do the jobs foreigners are applying to do.

Service and Food Workers Union Industry Leader Len Richards is outraged by the move, saying there is no need for overseas labour.

"There's over a quarter of our young people who don't have work, specifically Pacific Island, Maori, young people," Richards said.

"You would think that's the sort of people, the young New Zealanders, who should be the face of the Rugby World Cup."

Immigration New Zealand refused to talk to ONE News on camera, but released a statement saying the visa extensions were to make sure employers would not be disadvantaged by staff having to leave work before the Cup.

But the department admitted the workforce could have coped with the demand, as the number of tourists will still be less than during the peak summer season.

Alpha Recruitment manager Colin Mathieson says in some hospitality and accommodation roles, he receives between 100 and 200 applicants.

But he says overseas workers are often an employers' first choice.

"Generally when they come here they are well prepared they tend to be more go-getter because they've gone through more to get here and they're in demand," he said.

Cantabrian Gloria Sharplin, whose job for the event fell through because of the quake, says she is upset by the move.

"I look around and see all my friends finding it really hard to get jobs," Sharplin told ONE News.

"If we're not going to be given those jobs then how is that building our nation?"

Immigration New Zealand also wanted to extend visas for working holidays, but decided against it as it would require a change to government policy.

Instead the government department will be marketing working holiday schemes to English-speaking migrants, encouraging them to coincide their holiday with the event.

The Reserve Bank has projected the event will pump $700 million into the economy.

What do you think about the visa extensions? Have your say on the messageboard below.

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  • Miss Chief said on 2011-05-29 @ 23:25 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Well looking at the lady who is actually looking for a job.... Look at the selection that she is looking for! Manager, advisor... None of them are waitressing jobs or housekeeping jobs. Maybe this lady needs to lower her expectations a bit? Great on Immigration for granting those visas. NZ needs workers and unfortunately young NZers dont have the willigness to take up waitressing jobs that pay just 13 per hour.If NZers want the job and they can do the job I'm sure they will get it!

  • MattUK said on 2011-05-25 @ 05:34 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Immigration must have took various factors into consideration on this ,Not all kiwis want to be working in the hospitality industry or being doing the low skilled labour. My partner who is also from the UK works long hours for a pittance ,Most of you kiwis seem to leave the country in the search for better wages anyway and I have found no shortage of work since arriving in the country in November. Perhaps the solution for those of you who feel hard done by is get off your backsides.

  • QueenB1991 said on 2011-05-24 @ 23:37 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I am a "young New Zealander" who is currently employed part time, and whilst I don't enjoy bashing my fellow countrymen, wordperfect makes a valid point. New Zealand workers are, generally, at least when they are young extremely complacent and well, like he said, bone idle. Overseas workers are generally harder working and I hope its things like this that teach "young New Zealanders" a thing or two about earning a living.. if you want to make the money, be prepared to put in the work.

  • annej said on 2011-05-24 @ 21:18 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Typical National politics,now the spin starts,did National even consider that perhaps NZ workers would hear about this disgusting travesty,No i bet they didn't, how much do they try and hide from the NZ public.

  • marchis said on 2011-05-24 @ 19:14 NZDT: Report abusive post

    We are furious. Let's pay decent wages and give New Zealanders the jobs. It is disgusting.