Earthquake triggers migrant worker boom in New Zealand

new_zealand_sunsetThe global economic slowdown has taken a real toll on the labour market, with the unemployment rate in some nations now reaching record highs.

In the Eurozone, for example, the employment rate currently stands at a record 12%, and employment in the US is only gradually improving after a lengthy period of stagnation. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in South Africa (a nation often considered to be a good source of employment for skilled migrants) is at 24.9%. Although this is a marked improvement on the 29.8% rate recorded in 2011, it is still a staggering figure.

The options for people looking to work abroad might be limited in some sectors/areas, but according to New Zealand Skills in Demand, a migrant labour sourcing firm, the amount of emigrant workers being hired as part of the earthquake-related construction boom in Christchurch is on the up.

New Zealand Skills in Demand’s main business over the past year has come from people relocating to Auckland to work in the IT sector. But in the wake of the devastating earthquakes which rocked Christchurch, skilled workers (including a significant amount of carpenters from countries like the UK and Ireland) are flocking to New Zealand in order to be part of the area’s big rebuild.

According Skills in Demand; ‘There has been an intent for people to employ Kiwis first [in the rebuild]. But we’re just at the point now where there is no-one left [...] so we’re going to have to look overseas.’

Meanwhile, Joel Gabites (a shareholder of Skills in Demand) commented: ‘I would anticipate, given the delay in the rebuild, it’s at least another couple of years work up there to really get things humming.’

Although New Zealand’s growth outlook has been knocked by the recent drought it’s still set to perform better than many other developed nations.

And while the nation’s unemployment rate is currently above 6.5 per cent, as an economist with BNZ pointed out: low training and ‘outflows of staff to other countries since 2008 had produced skills shortages very early in this economic cycle.’

So if you’re looking for work why don’t you see whether you’ve got a skill which could be put to good use in New Zealand!

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