Further to the official declaration of Public Holiday by H.E OBED MOSES TALLIS TEMAR NE WERE,the Honrouble Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs and Employment Affairs Across the country has instructed that all business house to be closed to commemorate the 40s years Anniversary Celebration from 23rd to 29th July 2020.READ MORE HERE
Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.
The time-limited visa changes are:
Each year up to 14,400 workers, mainly from Pacific Island nations, arrive in New Zealand to fill seasonal labour shortages in the horticulture and viticulture industries.Read More
As part of the Government’s COVID-19 response, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has established a process for RSE visa holders to move to other RSE employers who have an Agreement to Recruit (ATR) if their existing employment is coming to an end. However, as the demand for seasonal workers in the horticulture and viticulture industries reduces over the winter months, there is not enough work available to support all the RSE visa holders still in New Zealand while they await repatriation flights. This has been identified as a problem that is leading to an increase of behavioural incidents and concerns around the welfare of workers.
It is fair to say at this time, many RSE workers are desperate to return home.
In response, the Minister of Immigration has decided to grant a Special Direction, issuing new, more flexible limited visas to RSE workers without work.
This is a short-term, time-limited measure to allow flexibility for RSE visa holders who are without work while RSE workers await flights to return home.
Changes enabling more flexible visas:
In order to be granted visas (at no cost to the worker or employer), the RSE employer will need to get any employment approved by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to ensure any work does not displace New Zealanders, undertake to continue honour RSE commitments to workers, and work collaboratively with all parties to repatriate workers as early as possible.
Changes to ensure workers and employers are not disadvantaged by COVID-19 disruptions:
All of these changes are time-bound and the focus remains to repatriate workers as soon as possible. The Pacific Migration team, including the RSE Relationship Managers- Tony and Oiko, will be supporting RSE employers to understand these changes and utilise the opportunities this flexibility provides.
RSE cap decision and return of workers to New Zealand
COVID-19 has added significant uncertainty to New Zealand industry’s workforce planning for 20/21, as well as uncertainty for Pacific workers and your labour sending units. The impact of border restrictions and New Zealand’s changing labour market has exacerbated the challenge of predicting New Zealand’s labour needs for the coming season.
To provide as much certainty as possible, the Minister has announced today that the RSE cap (maximum number of RSE workers allowed to come to New Zealand in a 12 month period) will be held at the same level, 14,400 workers, for the next season. This decision does not change the fact that the New Zealand border currently remains closed to all migrants that are not New Zealand citizens, residents or those who meet the limited exception requirements. Currently, RSE workers Arrival of any new RSE workers for the 2020/21 season will not occur unless there are changes to the current border restrictions.
You can find more information on the Immigration New Zealand website: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/recognised-seasonal-employers-rse-covid-19-information
Flights bringing in seasonal workers from New Zealand and stranded citizens and residents from Australia today are expected to be the final repatriation flights for the first phase.
There will be no repatriation flights until after July, Director of Foreign Affairs, Yvon Basil said.
A total of 1, 049 workers for the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme in NZ are expected to be repatriated on the eight additional flights being operated by the Royal NZ Air Force since last Friday, said Director Basil. The last RSE repatriation flight is confirmed for today with the second flight from Australia bringing stranded citizens and residents.
The first flight from Australia was expected yesterday. Around 200 individuals will return on these two flights operated by Nauru Airlines.
The cost of the RSE repatriation flights are funded by the New Zealand Government, according to the Director of Public Health and Spokesperson for COVID-19 matters, Len Tarivonda.
“The government of New Caledonia (NC) will also assist with the cost of the repatriation flight expected from NC yesterday,” he added.
“Organizers of the chartered flight that brought back over 100 cruise ship workers are also meeting the cost the flight.
“These cruise ship workers will be released from quarantine today. The repatriates from Fiji will be released at the end of this week.”
All repatriates will undergo 14-days quarantine once they arrive in Port Vila.
A final New Zealand Defence Force flight will touch down in Port Vila late this morning carrying the last group of ni-Vanuatu RSE workers to be repatriated as part of the current effort.
The Governments of New Zealand and Vanuatu have worked with employers in New Zealand to bring home more than 1000 RSE workers over the last five days.
Preventing the spread of COVID to Vanuatu remains a key priority for both our Governments, and we are all working to ensure Vanuatu’s entry requirements are met. All workers underwent a health pre-screening before boarding their flight.
Below is a photo of Ni Vanuatu boarding the NZDF Boeing this morning and another showing the Boeing taking off bound for Vanuatu.