15 Jun 2006

NZ Labour department doing background work on temporary permits

5:19 pm on 15 June 2006

The New Zealand Department of Labour is investigating its temporary work schemes to see what works and what doesn't.

This follows comments from the Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, that consideration is being given to ways in which they can be revived for Pacific Islanders.

The Labour department's deputy secretary workforce, Mary-Anne Thompson, says there is already in place both a quota access scheme for Pacific Islanders, and an immigration permit for short term temporary work.

She says the temporary permit, called an A.I.P., is set up so that employers apply for it, on a case by case basis.

Ms Thompson says there's no impediment to them asking for permits for Pacific Islanders but she agrees that not very many do.

"Probably on balance, not as much as there could be and that's why we're working with employers to see what could be done in terms of meeting their requirements and maybe looking a bit closer into the Pacific rather than further afield."

Ms Thompson says decisions about any changes to the schemes will be made at a ministerial level.