Applications are now being taken by DairyNZ for dairy farmers applying for border class exception which could see 200 dairy farm workers and their families come into the country.
Following the Government’s decision to grant the exceptions, DairyNZ has worked closely with Federated Farmers and the Ministry for Primary Industries to ensure a robust and fair process is in place.
DairyNZ responsible dairy general manager Jenny Cameron says opening these applications is a positive step, providing more clarity and detail for farmers nationwide who are facing a staff shortage.
“This will help some of the workers stuck overseas to return to their jobs on Kiwi farms or new migrants looking to join the sector, while supporting our farmers by relieving some of the workforce shortage,” says Ms Cameron.
“Applications will be open for an initial two weeks so we can assess and understand the interest from farmers looking to bring workers into the country through these exceptions.”
For the border class exception, it is Government requirement that the industry body needs to manage the processing and assessing of exception applications.
As implementation partner, DairyNZ is responsible for ensuring that employers with the most critical workforce needs can utilise the class exception. DairyNZ will assess applications to determine if they meet the specific eligibility criteria of the exception, as set out by Government.
If the 200 dairy farm worker exception spaces are not filled in the initial two-week period, applications will remain open. If it’s oversubscribed, that’s a good signal to the Government to consider making more spaces available.
“We understand the urgency of our farmers wanting to get people on-farm, especially as we are entering such a busy time on the farming calendar,” says Ms Cameron.
“The New Zealand border closures may mean staff are a couple of months away yet due to the application process and booking MIQ space, but this exception process does deliver for the bulk of this dairy season and provides farmers with some options to fill staff shortages.
“DairyNZ will continue to request that the Government allows class exceptions to have their own allotment of MIQ spaces, to provide on-farm support quicker and help relieve some of our staff shortage issues.
“We are also continuing to urge the Government to fast-track residency applications for migrant workers on dairy farms who want to become New Zealanders and working on reuniting families across the border. Both of those processes are very important to retain our hard-working foreign farm staff in New Zealand.”
More information on the process, criteria and timeframes is available at dairynz.co.nz/border.