Change in rules will make it easier for RSE workers stuck in New Zealand to change jobs

    Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said yesterday an announcement would be made soon around easing of conditions for temporary migrant workers and those in the RSE scheme.

    This would make it easier for them to change employers and jobs.

    That will be good news for up to 1500 Tongan RSE workers who remain in New Zealand as winter sets in.

    As horticultural and other work for which they have visas disappears, finding jobs remains difficult. RSE workers in New Zealand face far more restrictions on changing jobs or moving districts than they would in Australia.

    In Australia there have been calls for seasonal workers to be kept on to ensure the farming sector does not collapse.

    In New Zealand, by contrast, some sectors of the rural industry feel the government is making it harder for migrant workers to extend their visas and keep working and that a policy of replacing migrants with locals would not work.

    Newsroom reported that a move of RSE workers from Central Otago to Marlborough had taken three weeks to get approved.

    Tonga has announced that it is keeping its borders closed until September and the first repatriation flight is coming from Fiji, not New Zealand , as originally announced.

    A recent story in Newsroom quoted Tongan Advisory Council Chair Melino Maka as saying Tonga had closed the border to its own citizens.

    As Kaniva News reported last night, Prime Minister Tu’i’onetoa has promised that repatriation fights from New Zealand will start soon, but he also said earlier that negotiations with New Zealand were still underway.

    Tongan RSE workers would normally have gone home in May, but according to Maka, there could be up to 1500 Tongans on RSE visas in New Zealand.

    As we reported last night, return flights are limiting themselves to about 50 passengers a flight, so as not to overwhelm Tonga’s limited medical infrastructure.

    Maka said Tongan citizens would be returning to a country going through an economic crisis even more severe than New Zealand’s.

    The main points

    • Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said yesterday an announcement would be made soon around easing of conditions for temporary migrant workers and those in the RSE scheme.
    • This would make it easier for them to change employers and jobs.

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