The Government’s announcement of the number of new RSE workers allowed today is too little, too late, and the concept of the cap needs to go.
The harvest of strawberries is beginning next month, and the number of workers allowed has only just been announced. Numbers still need to be allocated to specific employers before they can actually hire workers from offshore.
“Given only 1500 more workers than last season will be allowed, it is possible some employers will not be able to get any extra workers this season,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“Last year, growers reported up to a quarter of their crops rotting in the ground and lost export orders due to labour shortages caused by the lack of workers.
“The announcement of a cap on RSE workers at this time in the year is unworkable for some growers whose crops happen to ripen early.”
Mr Seymour questioned the Minister for Immigration in Parliament last week, however the Minister brushed aside employers’ claims as being a minority despite a dozen employers who collectively employ over 2500 New Zealanders writing to him.
“The right thing to do is avoid this catastrophe by removing the cap on RSE numbers. So long as employers meet the criteria, they should be able to hire as many workers as they need.”