Thursday, June 20, 2024

Visa extension for holiday workforce

Immigration Minister, Michael Wood says Kiwi businesses could soon have access to thousands of additional working holiday makers as the Government boosts the number of working holiday places for Spain, and extends the period for working holiday makers currently in New Zealand.

“The government recognises the crucial role working holiday visa play in the New Zealand economy. We need their skills to meet workforce demand in industries like tourism, hospitality, agriculture and horticulture,” Minister Wood said.

“We are doing everything we can to make New Zealand an attractive place to visit and work in an internationally competitive labour market.”

To date, more than 52,000 working holiday visas have been approved, with nearly 36,500 working holiday makers entering the country since borders reopened.

“But we know demand is ongoing so we want to make travelling and staying on here as attractive as possible,” the Minister said.

From today, working holiday makers currently in New Zealand with visas due to expire between now and 30 September will have their visa extended by six months. They will also have open work rights, meaning they can work for the same employer for longer than three months, where maximum work durations currently apply.

“This change will help address casual workforce shortages in tourism and hospitality industries, two sectors that have traditionally employed working holiday makers.”

“The extension will affect around 7,500 working holiday makers, who can extend their stay and continue to work in their current casual jobs, or travel around our beautiful country and find other work.”

In addition, the number of available Spanish Working Holiday Scheme places will increase from 200 to 2,000, following a reciprocal agreement with the Government of Spain. These changes come into effect on 13 April.

“Working holiday makers from Spain will enjoy open work rights for up to 12 months.”

“Collectively, these changes will provide additional support to the tourism and hospitality industries through winter as we host the FIFA Women’s World Cup from 20 July to 20 August, and into the next summer season,” Mr Wood said.

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