10 May 2021

500 MIQ spaces made available each fortnight for workers

From Checkpoint, 5:53 pm on 10 May 2021

The government has promised to make room in MIQ for about 2,500 more migrant workers to come into the country for seasonal horticultural work.

About 500 spaces will be set aside in managed isolation hotels every fortnight for certain groups of travellers.

They include about 300 RSE workers every month from June; 300 specialised construction workers between June and October; and 400 foreign students next month.

There will also be rooms for 100 refugees every six weeks from July. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the move is possible because the trans-Tasman bubble has reduced demand on MIQ.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the decision was carefully balanced against the need to leave open rooms for New Zealanders to return home.

The horticulture industry has been crying out for more workers, without access to the usual influx from Pacific nations.