Chris Lewis, a Feds national board member and spokesman on immigration and labour issues for the past two years, will leave at its annual meeting in Auckland early July.
The border exceptions will allow approved workers to assist with the shearing and arable sectors over their peak busy period. The Government has also made some changes to the current dairy worker border exception, allowing more dairy farm assistants to meet the high demand for entry level staff around the country.
"For seasonal work such as shearing and the arable harvest it is essential that we bolster our local workforce with talent from overseas," Federated Farmers immigration spokesperson Chris Lewis says.
"We are also pleased to see the settings are being changed for the dairy border exception. Farmers across the country are asking for boots on the ground to help milk and feed livestock and the dairy assistant is the right role for doing this."
The Government’s announcement followed meetings and months of advocacy from Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, the Shearers Contractors Association, Rural Contractors NZ and Dairy Women’s Network to get an improved class exception process and staff on farm.
"Last week we met twice with ministers to give this another push and get messages across," Lewis says.
While the border exceptions have been approved, employers and their workers are still faced with a complex and lengthy process to get employees into New Zealand and working on farms.
“The border exception is just the first part of this process,” says Lewis.
"Employers and their workers will need to work closely with their respective industry groups to sort MIQ, flights and all the associated paperwork. This is not an easy or cheap task for either party, but with unemployment at such low levels this is really the only option for much of the primary industries at the moment."