Friday, 12 April 2024 14:28

Farmers oppose work visa changes

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Richard McIntyre Richard McIntyre

Farmers are crying foul over changes announced by the Government this week to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme.

Federated Farmers dairy chair and immigration spokesman Richard McIntyre says the changes “have caused a lot of concern and confusion”.

Many farmers rely on migrant workers to work on dairy farms and orchards. McIntyre claims the changes came into force immediately and will make things a lot harder for farmers who are trying to bring in staff from oversees.

The changes include a shorter visa length of two years with a maximum continuous stay period of three years, and the introduction of a 12-month stand-down period at the end of the visa. There are also new minimum requirements when it comes to skills, work experience, advertising roles, and engaging with Work and Income.

McIntyre says Federated Farmers do not support many of these changes and have written to the Immigration Minister, Erica Stanford raising concerns and requesting an urgent meeting to discuss them.

“We’re concerned that these sudden changes will put a number of farmers in a difficult and unforeseen situation where they are unable to fill roles this season,” he says.

“This is a significant issue. Staff shortages can have a huge impact on health & safety, mental wellbeing, and animal welfare.

  “There is also a risk that the standdown requirement will create a situation where skilled employees, who farmers have invested in, are picked up by other countries.”

According to Federated Farmers the key changes to the AEWV scheme are focused on those migrant workers who are entering, or have entered, New Zealand to work in ANZSCO Level 4 and 5 skill level roles. These changes apply from 7 April 2024. They include:

  • A shorter visa length of two years for those who applied for their first AEWV after 7 April 2024, with a maximum continuous stay period of three years
  • The introduction of a 12-month stand-down period at the end of the AEWV for migrant workers
  • An English language requirement of migrant workers
  • A minimum skills and work experience requirement of migrant workers
  • A requirement to advertise vacancies longer (increasing from 14 days to 21 days) of employers; and
  • A requirement for employers to engage with Work and Income.

More like this

Feds make case for rural bank lending probe

Bankers have been making record profits in the last few years, but those aren’t the only records they’ve been breaking, says Federated Farmers vice president Richard McIntyre.

No fanfare for water plan

After a decade of consultation and court battles, Environment Southland has officially adopted a plan to prevent further decline in the region's water quality.

Bank inquiry ultimatum!

Farmers are throwing down the gauntlet to politicians - hold an independent inquiry into rural bank lending or face tough questions from the farming sector.

Editorial: Farm salaries get a boost

OPINION: The recent Federated Farmers / Rabobank 2024 Farming Salaries Report revealed strong growth in farm salaries over the past two years.

Featured

Home detention for animal neglect

A Taranaki dairy farmer received four-month home detention and was disqualified from overseeing of animals for 18 months over a lack of feed and welfare which led to some animals being euthanised.

Flock House and its secrets

Plans are in place to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the legendary Flock House opening its doors for the first time.

$160 billion cargo shipment deal

New Zealand’s major primary industry exporters have secured shipping capability to export $160 billion worth of products over the next 10 years.

Play by the rules

Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the Government is always working to ensure that our food exporters are treated fairly under trade agreements signed with other countries.

National

Machinery & Products

GPS in control

In a move that will make harvesting operations easier, particularly in odd-shaped paddocks, Kuhn has announced that GPS section control…

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

True colours

OPINION: The watermelon party (AKA the Greens) try to portray themselves as an upright, self-righteous, caring bunch of woke, bicycle-riding…

Peace at last?

OPINION: Good news for hunters as Forest & Bird have "paused" legal action against the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation and agreed…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter