Northland has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, yet the region’s tourism industry is concerned they won’t have enough workers for its peak season.
Foreign workers make up a large number of the workforce, but a lot of them are heading home.
For the Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell, business has been booming with domestic tourists making the most of seeing Northland. However, with the number of migrant workers reducing, more staff for the hotel is needed.
“I’m advertising for staff now and finding it quite hard to find people,” Bridgett Haagh, co-owner of the hotel, says.
Migrant workers make up 11 per cent of the tourism force in Northland and 50 per cent in Queenstown.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa CEO Chris Roberts says in normal circumstances, a migrant worker is tied to the employer they come to work for.
“Right now, we need some flexibility in the system so that those migrant workers that have lost their jobs can move to another part of the country for another employer, if that employer can't find other Kiwis.”
Immigration New Zealand says there are more than 200,000 on work visas in the country at the moment but can’t say how many of those are still employed. For now, they’ve stopped processing new applications.
The Duke of Marlbourgh needs to find another 55 workers by the summer, but for now will continue to search for Kiwis looking for employment post-lockdown.