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Migrants help close skill gap in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty

New Zealand’s progressive immigration policy actively seeks to employ foreign nationals to fill jobs when no New Zealanders are available. Their government has recognized that fiscal growth, economic stability and a growing nation would require skills that may not be available amongst the local population. This is particularly the case for certain occupations in areas such as engineering, health and social services, ICT, electronics and telecommunication, trades and transport are on long-term skill shortage lists.

Migrants Help Close Skill Gap In New Zealand’S Bay Of Plenty

"We seem to have a reasonably good match here in the Bay between opportunities and skills required in our various industry sectors so I would guess these (migrant visa) figures are consistent with that," said Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec.

"Immigration New Zealand does a pretty good job [at] keeping its finger on this at a regional level.

"But there are still shortages in some specialised areas like high-end ICT, specialised medical and diagnostic skills, and professional services like geotechnical engineering."

Gregec added that closing skill gaps in New Zealand could be difficult.

"Obviously it's desirable that we give locals the first bite at any new opportunity, but sometimes this doesn't work out and in those instances it's important that industry has access to the labour it needs - often on a seasonal basis when locals are not available," Mr Gregec said.

Nationally, more than 860,000 people have had work visa applications approved since July 2010. In that time, 53,123 visa applications were declined.

The most common occupation gaining visas was tour guide, followed by chef and dairy cattle farmer. Cafe or restaurant manager, retail manager and retail supervisor were the next most common.

“South African’s seem to adapt to the New Zealand way of living very well,” said local immigration expert Robbie Ragless CO of New World Immigration.

“The country offers South Africans exactly what they are looking for when they make the decision to immigrate,” continued Ragless.

“Our clients usually reach their decision to immigrate based on a couple of factors but the main reasons are considerably better employment and career opportunities, access to a strong schooling and health care system and of course a safer and politically more stable environment.”

Ragless adds that South African’s are sought after in New Zealand.

“New Zealand employers have over the years expressed their good impressions of South Africans.

“We often hear from employers that South Africans typically have excellent work ethic, are hardworking and, if they manage to qualify for a New Zealand visa, you can be sure they hold exceptional qualifications and invaluable experience.”

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