Immigration News

NZ primary industry about to lose big

agricultural workers

A new visa scheme offering 3 years in Australia to agricultural workers threatens to crush NZ’s primary sector.

Opinion piece: Immigration Lawyer Aaron Martin from NZIL

Australians must be laughing at our immigration woes.

The Australian government has announced a new visa aimed at enticing agricultural workers by offering them three years of residency to live in rural areas. New Zealand, however, has no official pathway or plan for migrant worker residency.

Why is the Ardern government consistently the loser?

We have very proud history of sporting success against Australia. We love nothing better than to beat them at anything. We’ve had success on multiple fronts but, sadly, our government seems to come up the loser against theirs.

Jacinda lost out badly to Scott Morrison on the issue of Suhayra Aden, the Islamic jihadist who was repatriated to New Zealand and who is now New Zealand’s problem.

Arden seemed to believe that ANZAC collaborative spirit would see Australia work with New Zealand to find a positive and fair outcome, especially given that she had lived most of her life in Australia and has no family ties in New Zealand. Wrong. Mr Morrison had no such illusions – he knew what was in Australia’s best interests, rescinded her Australian citizenship, and took action.

Another rub: Our limp-wristed approach to the Australian deportation programme known as the 501s sees a large number of criminals put back into our society, creating major problems in our communities. Mr Morrison was given a stern talking-to by Jacinda. His response? Yawn.

It’s bad enough that they’ve been plundering our labour market and poaching skilled people from the health and construction industries. Now, our primary sector is about to get hammered by Australia’s forward-thinking approach to attracting workers to their primary sectors, known here as recognised seasonal employer (RSE) workers.

New Ag visa offers a pathway to Aussie residency

The Australian federal  government’s new ag visa covers farm, meat, fisheries, and forestry workers – all our major primary sectors. The visa will be open to applicants from a range of countries that have bilateral agreements with the Australian government to ensure they have access to low- and high-skilled agricultural workers. It will work in conjunction with similar arrangements with Pacific Island countries. Most importantly: Workers will have option to obtain a residence entitlement for Australia.

Why on earth would any agricultural worker look at New Zealand as a destination when we offer nothing similar? If New Zealand’s primary sector thinks they have a labour shortage now, watch out when this Australian visa comes online!

For Immigration issues, Australia is our rival, not our friend

Why have we not developed something similar? Those advising the government on immigration policy seem to have forgotten that we need to be internationally competitive. Lack of interest in achieving that competitive edge seems to be consistent with a lack of ambition by the government on so many fronts. Or is it that they still arrogantly think our “lifestyle” is enough to attract talent?

Reality check: It’s not. For most people looking at New Zealand, it is a country still in the Dark Age of COVID lockdowns when almost every other country has abandoned them, and a country of hostile attitudes towards immigrants. It’s time Jacinda got her game on.