Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway today announced sweeping changes to the process of obtaining a work visa which should help support New Zealand's tourism industry to find the workers it needs, according to Tourism Industry Aotearoa.

The new employer-assisted temporary work visa process is set to be easier for employers, whilst supporting New Zealanders to be considered first for vacancies. The change will help areas like Queenstown in particular.

Iain Lees-Galloway

“While tourism operators would always prefer to hire New Zealanders, the reality is that it is not always possible," said TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts. "Many TIA members operate in regions where no suitable New Zealanders are available for some roles. So they rely on temporary overseas workers to ensure they can provide the services our visitors require."

Chris Roberts

Roberts congratulated the government on listening and responding to many of the issues raised in TIA's Submission to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment in March. He argued that the employment needs in regions like Queenstown can be very different from New Zealand's main centres, and that the change shows the government's willingness to recognise that the current system is overly complex, particularly for small businesses.

"A welcome interim step will be replacing the current complicated skill bands with a simple salary threshold by mid-220," said Roberts.