Migrants 'key for rebuild'

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 05:00 18/06/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Businesses will be helped to find and keep the right people for the Christchurch rebuild.

Immigration adviser Mike Bell and wife Tammy, who moved to New Zealand 12 years ago, launched an initiative yesterday to help employers keep skilled migrant workers.

"Migrants bring about $500 million into Christchurch," he said.

"According to the 2006 census, $8.1 billion was brought into the country by migrants."

However, a quarter of immigrants ended up leaving New Zealand.

Bell's venture, New Zealand Immigration and Settlement Services, aimed to help employers keep their skilled migrant employees.

"If expectations get overblown and no-one tells them, people are going to be disappointed.

If they have accurate information, they won't be disappointed," he said.

"If they thought they were going to earn $10,000 more each year than they actually would, they are going to be unhappy."

He hoped to help migrant workers integrate so they felt like members of New Zealand society, rather than expatriates.

"One of the things we are looking at are cases where migrants have been disadvantaged by bureaucratic processes," said Bell, who is helping South African woman Cherie Vermaak with her immigration problems.

Bell supports a Kiwi-first attitude and believes in training unemployed New Zealanders first before bringing in migrants.

"Good immigration means the migrants don't compete with the locals," he said.

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- The Press

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