New easy visa rules

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Queenstown will see more foreigners staffing the resort’s adventure tourism and snow sports sectors. 

After Tourism Industry Association lobbying, Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has eased work permit rules for outdoor adventure guides and snow sport instructors. 

“This is a big win for operators who can’t find skilled New Zealand staff to do the job and have to recruit competent overseas-based individuals,” TIA says in a recent newsletter. 

“Some operators were having difficulties meeting Immigration NZ’s requirement for 30 hours of work weekly in highly weather-dependent activities.” 

Guy’s agreed a pilot scheme until September next year which waives the 30-hour guarantee. 

Applicants must have at least three years’ experience in an equivalent role overseas and a Kiwi job offer paying at least $20 hourly. 

Local adventure firms welcome the news. 

“The move will be really good,” Ziptrek Ecotours general manager Stu Cordelle says. 

At season’s peak, Ziptrek has about 10 overseas guides and dropping the 30 hours per week guarantee gives his firm a little more flexibility, he says. 

Snow sports operators will have staffed up by now but are likely to benefit from the scheme next winter. 

Two other local adventure firms – NZONE Skydive and Coronet Peak Tandems – also applaud Guy’s move. 

While it doesn’t really affect his business, NZONE co-owner Lindsay Williams says: “It’s a positive thing, especially for Queenstown.” 

Coronet Peak Tandems owner Angus Tapper says: “It doesn’t really affect us either but it’s quite good to 
know.”