“Delays by Immigration NZ in processing visas is taking its toll on local businesses,” says National List MP, Maureen Pugh.
“My office is currently assisting several people with immigration issues with one business facing closure because they cannot get staff. If we cannot get some leniency and efficiency in processing for those international visitors who are prepared to work in remote parts of the regions we run the risk of businesses failing. We are not alone, with one restaurant in Te Anau limiting the number of tables they can serve. This is a terrible look for our tourism industry and not the kind of message we want visitors taking away with them.
“I also have health professionals who want to have their work visas simply rolled over or extended but because of the slow processing of applications they are forced to leave the country because their existing visa expires. Our low unemployment rate means there are not enough workers locally, so businesses rely on visitors with work visas to fill positions.
“Bureaucracy and policy don’t always understand reality,” says Mrs Pugh.