Connecting New Zealand

Survey highlights immigration’s role in construction skills shortage

05 Aug 2021

Ninety per cent of construction firms are having difficulty recruiting in New Zealand, a new survey of CCNZ and other key industry body members has found. The primary reasons identified by respondents are skill shortages, recruitment challenges and immigration policies that don’t meet industry needs.

The 135 organisations that responded to the survey collectively reported 3,229 vacancies across a wide range of jobs and experience levels, varying from professional services to trade roles.

The survey found that while many firms usually recruit from overseas, most are currently not doing so because of concerns about New Zealand’s border exception processes and criteria.

CCNZ Chief Executive Peter Silcock said the findings showed that many in the industry felt that Immigration NZ’s border exception criteria were too narrow, and in some cases at odds with the Government’s intention to allocate MIQ places for the construction sector.

A report on the survey  findings has been sent to Government, along with a request to meet key ministers to discuss the issues raised.

The main recommendations include:

  • aligning Immigration NZ’s border exception criteria for “long-term critical workers” for the infrastructure sector with the MIQ group allocation criteria,
  • lowering the salary threshold for workers whose skills are in short supply,
  • adding construction sector professions and occupations to the list of approved classes of workers, alongside dairy farm managers and shearers etc,
  • improving levels of support from Immigration NZ for the sector, including help with applications for MIQ places and border exceptions (e.g. nominated key sector contacts and application templates).

Mr Silcock said access to a skilled workforce and pipeline of talent was essential if the current and proposed infrastructure investment across New Zealand is to be delivered. He said the survey findings could play an important role in highlighting the need for change to our current immigration settings.

The survey was sent to members of CCNZ, the Association of Engineering and Consulting (ACE New Zealand), Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects, and Registered Master Builders Association.

Read the detail in in the survey report >>




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