10 September 2020

Immigration changes “a great boost” to local businesses 

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson says businesses in Waitaha Canterbury will welcome the news that valued workers that have been stuck offshore will now have the opportunity to return to Aotearoa New Zealand.  
The announcement by Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi will help new residents stuck offshore keep their residency status while COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place. This means that individuals whose travel conditions are about to expire will receive a 12 month extension to travel to New Zealand, and those whose travel conditions have expired on or after 2 February 2020 (when travel restrictions began) will be issued a new visa, also valid for 12 months. 
“The announcement that visa holders that are normally resident here and have retained their job can apply for a border exemption is a great boost to local businesses,” says Ms Watson. 
“Sectors right across the region have felt the impact of the loss of these workers, many of whom hold essential positions in their workplaces. Employers have indicated that many projects have been delayed or negatively impacted in infrastructure, health, and telecommunications without these critical workers.  
“Many of these visa holders have lived in New Zealand for years and make a strong contribution to our communities. 
“This is a really positive step towards establishing a balance between efficient border management controls and the importance of allowing the movement of people into the country for our economic recovery. It also provides businesses with a degree of certainty around this issue during what continues to be a very challenging and unsettling time.”  

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Leeann Watson, Chief Executive, 027 447 7775, [email protected]

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) is a not-for-profit membership-based service organisation that has been the home and voice of business in the Canterbury region since 1859. Comprised of over 2,600 member organisations that represent over 60,000 employees, The Chamber’s purpose is to empower people in business by providing advisory and consultancy support in employment relations, human resources, health and safety, international trade, manufacturing, migrant support, research and development grants, and training and development in many areas.

Affiliated to BusinessNZ and the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Industry