Sourced for you from expatforum by The Immigration Consultants.
Two years on from the devastating earthquake that struck Christchurch in New Zealand thousands of skilled workers are needed to tackle the rebuilding of the city and many are set to come from overseas. Around 40% of the 1,000 skilled overseas workers granted visas to work in Christchurch are British but officials reckon many thousands of workers are needed and although there is a push to employ local people, according to recruitment firms the reality is that there are not enough of them.

The New Zealand government estimates that up to 15,000 extra workers will be needed including plumbers, carpenters and electricians. Leading shipper to New Zealand, Anglo Pacific, has seen the number of clients moving to New Zealand increasing. ‘Judging by the volume of removals enquiries we’re receiving at Anglo Pacific, the signs are that plenty of Brits will be coming to Christchurch’s rescue,’ said Jason Diggs, Anglo Pacific’s sales director and a native of Christchurch.

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch in February 2011 just a few months after a previous shock had damaged roads and homes. The death toll rose to 185 and much of the city was destroyed including its cathedral, sports stadium and tallest hotel. Some 100,000 homes were damaged, 7,000 beyond repair and 70% of shops, hotels and office buildings have been demolished.

Sam Atkins, a senior consultant from recruitment firm Hays, said that as the rebuild programme takes shape, demand for construction workers and other associated professionals is increasing. ‘The fact is that New Zealand does not have enough home grown workers available to tackle the work required making migration essential,’ he pointed out. ‘International recruitment agencies such as ourselves are working in overdrive to fill these skills gaps either with foreigners or returning New Zealand expats,’ he added.

According to figures from Statistics New Zealand some 1,200 migrants moved to Canterbury in the 12 months to the end of February 2013 compared with a net loss of 3,750 people for the year ending in February 2012 in the wake of the earthquake. But the issue of skilled overseas workers is a hot political potato.

A spokesman for Immigration New Zealand said that there is a strong push in Christchurch to use local labour whenever possible. ‘So whilst the rebuild is undeniably a huge task, and additional outside labour will most certainly be required, it would be wrong to suggest that this is currently a bonanza for migrant workers,’ he added. He also explained that of the 1,000 visas issued so far, there is no discernible pattern on occupations. The biggest category of UK migrant is currently for insurance loss adjusters but there is demand for skills such as architects, welders, and concreters.

A special Christchurch Hub has been created online where employers can lodge their vacancies. It is then the role of the Hub to source New Zealand residents or citizens to fill those vacancies before looking overseas, saving employers the time and effort of advertising themselves. There is also a Canterbury Skills Shortages List which highlights just some of the skilled workforce required over the next 10 to 20 years including engineers, draftsmen, telecoms experts, surveyors, electricians and glaziers.

Utilizing its vast network of contacts built over 35 years of trading, Anglo Pacific has a dedicated job search service with applicants invited to register free of charge and without obligation. Completed registrations are forwarded to specialist recruiters.

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