2000 workers have applied for 200 jobs in a Christchurch supermarket, most of them being paid minimum wage, or a dollar or two above if the supermarket is unionised. 200 workers will get a job and that’s a good thing.
But no New Zealanders will get a shot at 110 “Facade Installers” jobs paying a minimum of $18.33 an hour because Immigration New Zealand has granted an “approval in principle” for a company to bring the workers from China, on the basis that there are no New Zealanders easily able to do or be trained to do the work.
From the documents I’ve seen, the company appears to have inflated the pre requisites for the job, saying they require 3 years proven minimum experience in “commercial facade installation”, their advertising has been limited (a few ads on Trademe and Seek) and they’ve made no commitment to training Kiwi workers. Insiders in the industry tell me that these are jobs that labourers can do, workers are easily trained and the work is pretty basic construction work. The company has successfully tendered for a range of construction projects without having or training the workforce to perform the work, and they have now turned to the government to rescue them.
I believe Immigration NZ has been shoddy in going along with this. I asked the Minister of Immigration yesterday in the House whether he was satisfied with the labour market testing requirements and he said he was.
He shouldn’t be. From time to time we will need migrants to work in New Zealand – especially in areas of skills shortages and in times of high employment.
But this situation doesn’t cut it. It’s not the first I’ve seen, and it won’t be the last unless the government makes a real commitment to Kiwi jobs and training.
And that means the Minister of Immigration paying more attention.