Rebuild to reverse immigrant decline
The number of immigrants settling in Invercargill, Gore and throughout the Southland district has dropped since 2008, Statistics New Zealand says.
Venture Southland Settlement Support Southland co-ordinator Eirlys Beverley-Stone said the downward trend was reflected throughout New Zealand because of the global financial crisis, but it was expected to change.
The Christchurch rebuild and the growth of the Auckland housing market had created demand for construction workers and they were also likely to come to Southland as a direct result of the Southland supply initiative.
About 220 Southland businesses had committed to the initiative and will be partnered with Christchurch stakeholders. The businesses will provide labour and services for the Christchurch rebuild but remain based in the south.
Immigration NZ said between 10,000 and 17,000 construction workers would be required nationwide in the next two years, and immigrant workers would be important to fill labour shortages for the extra demand.
Ms Beverley-Stone said many Southland businesses were already employing immigrants or were considering employing them.
"The rebuild will eventually have an impact on the pool of construction workers in Southland."
Employers should to be aware immigrants would need the right support, which would help maximise their productivity in businesses, she said.
New guides for construction workers and employers had been produced by Immigration New Zealand and would make the transition for workers in the region smoother, she said.
"The information provided is designed to help integrate migrant workers into the workplace and settle their families into the community," she said.
Settlement Support Southland provides help for immigrants living throughout Southland.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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