28 May 2020

Immigration NZ to send workers to Queenstown to help migrant workers and employers

5:44 pm on 28 May 2020

Immigration NZ will send a team of staff to support migrant workers and employers in Queenstown as some prepare to lose the wage subsidy.

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A team of Immigration NZ workers will be available in Queenstown to support migrant workers and employers. Photo: RNZ / Belinda McCammon

They will operate out of a welfare hub being set up by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

The team will include staff who can help temporary migrants understand their immigration options, relationship managers to help coordinate information and compliance officers to provide information to migrants on how they can leave the country if they are not able to stay.

Immigration staff will be set up from Tuesday for three weeks - the wage subsidy ends the week after before companies can apply for the extension.

Acting general manager Geoff Scott said they would help the significant population of migrant workers who lost their jobs because of Covid-19.

"Staff at the one stop shop will be on hand to provide information to migrants wanting to remain in New Zealand and make them aware of their job prospects in a changing labour market with an increasing number of unemployed New Zealanders looking for work," Scott said.

Temporary visa holders who are unemployed or want to return home should talk to their consulate or embassy first for assistance.

On 2 April, holders of a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa expiring up to 9 July who were in the country had their visas automatically extended until 25 September.

"The government has agreed to relax visa conditions for a short period to allow temporary migrant workers and international students to further assist with our essential services during the Covid-19 response," Scott said.

The Queenstown welfare hub will open to appointment only meetings next week.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council confirms it is in the process of setting up a community support and information service in Frankton.

"Other agencies, including Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development, will be in Queenstown from early next week to further discuss logistical details associated with the operation," the council said.

"While there may be a small number of appointment-only meetings next week, we are anticipating the service will be fully operational the following week."

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