Hospitality businesses struggling to find trained staff welcome a move to extend by two years the Government’s ability to quickly change COVID-related migrant applications and visas settings, says Hospitality New Zealand.

Chief Executive Julie White says the effect of Government’s proposal to extend the Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Bill, which expires in May, through to 2023 will be vital as borders gradually re-open.

Julie White

“This is particularly relevant alongside yesterday’s announcement of the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble, because as more visitors arrive here, hospitality businesses are going to need more staff to meet their needs,” she says.

“Because the borders have been closed, we have not had access to the people we need to efficiently run our businesses, but from 19 April, when the bubble opens, we expect we will be needing more of them.”

White says the bill will allow the Minister to adjust settings as they arise.

“And that’s exactly what we need to make the most of the opportunities.”

She says New Zealand hospitality businesses need their existing essential workers to stay and will need to bring in extras as the borders open, and having the ability to extend visitor and working holiday visas to give everyone more certainty, and waiving some application requirements, will enable that.

“At the same time, the sector will do its bit to upskill and train more Kiwis, but this will take time.

“Having the immigration lever available, and running more training in parallel, will result in a more resilient and sustainable industry for the future – one that is underpinned with greater workforce skills and capabilities.

“These are positive moves that will help the sector get back on its feet.”

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