Guides to assist with immigrant labour

Dairy farm employers and workers have been given a helping hand from Venture Southland through a set of guide books designed to improve working relationships between farmers and immigrant workers.

Two information guides, produced by Immigration New Zealand and distributed by Venture Southland, for dairy farm employers and foreign employees, are being sent to dairy farms throughout Southland.

Venture Southland Settlement Support co-ordinator Eirlys Beverley-Stone said more than 1200 guides were sent out to farms and farm workers.

The employer guide would help employers make the transition to New Zealand life smoother for their new immigrant workers while the guide for immigrants would better prepare new immigrants to working and living on a New Zealand dairy farm, she said.

Federated Farmers Southland president Russell McPherson said he had not seen the guides but a clash of cultures sometimes created issues in the agricultural industry.

"Any information to help migrants integrate into the community is a good thing while farmers have to remember migrants have different values and expectations," he said.

Immigrants were an important part of the Southland and New Zealand agricultural sector because the industry was struggling to entice young New Zealanders to work on the farms, Mr McPherson said.

"The jobs involve hard work but are well paid, in the clean open air and have some perks so it is disappointing young New Zealanders aren't taking up the work," he said.

Employing new immigrants was different from employing New Zealanders and the right support, particularly when immigrants started their employment, would help maximise their productivity, Mrs Beverley-Stone said.

The information provided for the guides was a collaboration between Venture Southland, agency partners and the dairy industry.

 

FACTS FOR FARMERS

  • Most migrant dairy workers are only here on a temporary visa.
  • All migrant employees are covered by New Zealand employment law.
  • Management style might need to differ from that used for a New Zealand employee.
  • Migrants might need a bit of extra training. English might not be their first language, making it a bit more challenging to teach them the ropes.
  • Migrants come from different cultures and often value different things from Kiwis.

The Southland Times