19 Mar 2021

Immigration NZ overturns decision on sheep scanners' work visas

7:28 pm on 19 March 2021

Immigration New Zealand has given the green light to 11 foreign sheep scanners to help New Zealand farmers.

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Photo: Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

Sheep scanning happens around April and May and is the pregnancy test for ewes due to give birth this coming spring.

It comes after the scanners' applications for critical worker visas were previously denied, however, an Immigration NZ spokesperson said it recently received new information about the availability of sheep scanners in New Zealand.

The department then informed employers who had applied for workers and had been declined, that their requests would be reconsidered.

Federated Farmers meat and wool chair William Beetham said it was a fantastic result and although only 11 had been approved, they would fill a big gap.

"Well I think what is really important to understand is that one scanner can have a run that is upwards of 150,000 plus ewes," Beetham said.

"So when you are talking about just 11 coming in, you are talking about close to two million sheep that could be scanned by those individuals.

"That's a huge amount of work so while it's a small amount of people, it will have a very significant impact on ensuring the welfare of New Zealand's sheep flock moving through into lambing."

Beetham said it was crucial for animal welfare that these workers were allowed in.

Ewes carrying twins or triplets required more feed than one carrying a singleton and scanners picked up the multiples.

"We have to make sure from an animal welfare perspective, we can look after her (the ewe) better," he said.

"She needs more, higher quality feed so it (scanning) is really important to how we manage to how we manage our farming system."

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