8 May 2009

NZ shearers now on priority list for UK visas

12:57 pm on 8 May 2009

British High Commissioner George Fergusson says New Zealand shearers are on a priority list for processing visa applications to work there.

Stricter conditions and costs for obtaining new work permits have deterred some shearers from going to Britain to work this year as they would normally do in New Zealand's off-season.

New Zealanders wanting to work there have to travel to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch to provide finger-prints for biometric visa cards.

UK officials have now sped-up the application process for shearers.

Mr Fergusson says it shows New Zealand shearers are highly valued in Britain and have been given priority.

He accepts that it may not be convenient for shearers in some parts of the country to go to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch to provide biometric information.

But he says it's become an unavoidable part of modern border control.

The High Commissioner says biometric checks were responsible for about 5500 people on false identities being detected trying to enter Britain from around the world in the past year.