International workers help New Zealand address dairy worker shortage



International workers help New Zealand address dairy worker shortage

April 18, 2022


Allowing 500 more international workers is a step in the right direction, says DairyNZ

Sustained advocacy by New Zealand’s dairy sector has helped secure an additional 500 international workers to help on dairy farms, however the government’s border class exceptions still fall short of the sector’s shortage of 4,000 workers, DairyNZ said in a press release.

DairyNZ is relieved that the government is allowing an additional 500 international dairy workers to enter the country through a border class exception. This means that 800 international employees will be able to enter New Zealand to work on dairy farms.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said DairyNZ is working hard to ensure the government understands the huge pressure farmers are under due to labor shortages.

The organization brought 1,500 international dairy workers to the country in time for the 2022 dairy season on June 1.

“We have made it clear to the government that the 300 dairy class exception workers previously approved are nowhere near enough to meet on-farm demands and reduce the current high levels of farmer stress,” Mackle said.

“The government’s decision to increase the number of international workers by 500 is a step in the right direction to reduce pressure on farm crews,” he added. the significant lack of staff.

The dairy sector is estimated to be short of 4,000 workers. A record unemployment rate, combined with an extended border closure, has contributed to the shortage of workers.

DairyNZ has also launched a ‘Join Us’ campaign aimed at connecting dairy farmers and New Zealanders and inviting Kiwis to join a dairy job – see for details.

“We continue to encourage Kiwis to join our industry and farmers have taken a series of steps to make dairy farming more attractive to staff, but in such a tight labor market the contribution of international staff to maintaining holdings is essential,” Mackle said. .

“From here, we strongly encourage farmers who wish to have international workers on board for calving to apply through the exception process at the border.”

“It is now easier for farmers to use the class exception process, so we hope farmers will take this opportunity,” he concluded. “People no longer need to stay at MIQ or self-isolate. There is also no limit to the number of agricultural assistants who can apply.”

Workers on Class Exception Visas must be paid at least $28 per hour.


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