Sunday, July 21, 2013

Deal opens door for Chinese workers in Christchurch rebuild Read more:

By Tom McRae Reporter The immigration minister says Chinese construction workers will be part of the Christchurch rebuild. Local company Arrow International and a Chinese construction firm will bid for some of the big ticket items. But with unemployment here sitting at more than 6 percent, does that mean Kiwis are missing out? The rebuild in Christchurch is picking up, and soon Chinese workers will be at the centre of it, after the deal with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation. "There is no doubt in my mind that the rebuild is going to require a significant number of migrant labour," says Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse. Thirty-five-thousand workers will be needed to complete the rebuild. The Immigration Minister told The Nation this morning that means a shortage of 17,000. "That will depend on the skills they bring and their ability to speak English," says Mr Woodhouse. It's not just the rebuild where immigrants are being targeted. A number of job ads are now asking specifically for foreign workers. Orchards have traditionally employed seasonal overseas contractors, and now 20 percent of dairy workers are foreign. "We frankly can't run our industry without significant numbers of immigrant workers," says Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills. "The industry is just too important to be hijacked by a lack of labour. If we can't get Kiwis in these roles, then we've got to make it easy to attract and retain good immigrant labour." The problem is there aren't enough New Zealand workers with the right skills. "They need to be experienced," says John Hughes of Rural Contractors New Zealand. "They need to have a work ethic. They need to have an ability to hit the ground running." The Government says it's working hard to up-skill Kiwis into work, but they have to be motivated. "Any employer will tell you when Work and Income sends some workers to them they will have some of those barriers," says Mr Woodhouse. "That is they're not skilled or educated enough to do the jobs. They may have some issues with drug and alcohol or mobility, and I think those are barriers that we need to continue to move so Kiwis are first in line for the jobs." It seems until there's a real incentive for Kiwis to look for work, immigrants will happily step up. 3 News Sat, 20 Jul 2013 6:02p.m. Read more:

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