New Zealand’s immigration minister’s going to “urgently enable” three initiatives to help migrants on essential skills work visas.
Queenstown mayor Jim Boult video conferenced with Iain Lees-Galloway yesterday — in a statement, Boult says that’s resulted in steps which will “considerably ease the stress of many” in the Wakatipu’s immigrant work force.
For those on essential skills work visas, Lees-Galloway’s undertaken to enable:
- An automatic extension of expiring working visas, with immediate effect;
- The ability for working holiday visa holders to be redeployed to alternative work places by the close of business today, and;
- Eligibility for working visa holders to apply for hardship grants from the Ministry of Social Development, also with immediate effect.
“What the minister has provided … will allow for urgent welfare assistance, regardless of nationality, and for the redeployment of workers into industries which are critically short of workers due to border restrictions — like horticulture and viticulture — once the logistics around the lockdown and training requirements are considered,” Boult says.
City Hall had 335 requests for community welfare, through its website, in about 48 hours this week.
Boult says after a “substantial logistical effort” more than 200 food packages were delivered yesterday by the council’s emergency operations centre team, with help from “many philanthropic individuals and organisations”, and a grant from the mayoral discretionary fund.
“Although day one of the lockdown … provided us with unimaginable challenges, the response from our community, the QLDC team and our government has been impressive and humbling.
“If we continue in this way, we will get through this crisis admirably,” Boult says.