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Extending Essential Skills visas and simplifying the processes welcomed – Hospo

Hospitality and accommodation businesses welcome the news that the Government is increasing the duration of Essential Skills visas and streamlining the application process.

The sectors have been struggling to find staff, for some operators the labour shortage situation is at crisis points says Hospitality New Zealand.

Chief executive Julie White says the changes will bring more certainty for businesses and employees on Essential Skills visas, which is vital as we wait for the borders to re-open. It is good that the Government is listening to us, this change will help some business operators. Delaying the rollout of the Accredited Employer Work scheme is sensible given the changes to the extensions.

"Before COVID, like other industries, the hospitality industry was reliant on migrant workers. Because of the border restriction, the industry has not had access to the people we need to efficiently run our businesses. The industry is committed to employing more Kiwis, however the reality is, roles like chefs take years to master and it is going to take time for the industry to transition from its historical reliance on migrants.

"Hospitality businesses need their existing essential skills visa holder workers to stay. Having the ability to extend essential skills working visas will provide more certainty for everyone and simplifying applications for those workers wishing to remain in their current roles.

"At the same time, the sector will do its bit to attract, 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.

"Though the sector has been largely misrepresented as low-wage, the 2020 remuneration survey shows the average hourly wage is above $20. The solution for a sustainable workforce for the future with greater productivity will be industry-led training, the right training for the right person at the right time, and designed for individual employees.

"That is why Hospitality New Zealand has invested in a globally recognised hospitality learning system TYPSY for its members. TYPSY has up to 1000 micro-courses which employees can access on any device anywhere, anytime."

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