6 Jul 2017

RSE merits praised by NZ Immigration Minister

3:46 pm on 6 July 2017

New Zealand's Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse has told a conference on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme of the highs and lows of the now ten-year-old scheme.

Pacific Islands workers have been described as invaluable to New Zealand's horticulture and viticulture industries.

Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Under the scheme Pacific people are given short term visas to work in New Zealand's orchards and vineyards.

Mr Woodhouse told the Blenheim conference that the RSE scheme had allowed growth in the horticulture and viticulture sectors, with 82 percent of RSE employers expanding their cultivation areas and most agreeing the scheme was a factor in this.

But he said there were some RSE employers who had let the sectors down.

Mr Woodhouse said from February the government had been standing down employers who breached employment and immigration law and so far 53 employers have been stopped from recruiting migrant workers.

Though he said just four of those employers were in the horticulture and viticulture industries.

The minister also said there had been a recent rise in the number of negative incidents involving RSE workers, up to 40 so far this year, which is double the total for 2016.

But he said this had to be measured against the numbers now coming in to New Zealand each year - 10,500 this year, or about the population of Gore or Greymouth.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs