Kiwi skill shortage list changes threaten migrant HGV drivers

Kiwi skill shortage list changes threaten migrant HGV drivers

Kiwi skill shortage list changes threaten migrant HGV drivers

Haulage contractor companies in New Zealand are slamming the upcoming removal of HGV and truck driving from its skills shortages list, saying their businesses will suffer.

In six months’ time the classification will be removed from New Zealand immigration’s skills list, forcing experienced HGV and heavy vehicle drivers to return to their home countries. According to Dennis Rpbertson, Road Transport Association New Zealand’s manager, the decision is a mismatch between the reality of the sector’s needs and the government’s naïve view.

Robertson adds that, even although the association is in discussion the government, he doesn’t believe that the official reasons for the withdrawal of the category are based on reality. Government, he says, is attempting to force employers to take on inexperienced drivers from the country’s pool of unemployed workers.

The association strongly believes that it’s simply the worst idea to pull a man from the dole queue and give him a NZ$500,000 truck to play with. Robertson explains that employers are trying hard to recruit experienced New Zealand HGV drivers, but are finding that few are legally licensed or fit for the job.

The licensing process, he explains, takes a full two years and involves a class 5 license and a good amount of training. Road safety is at risk unless fully licensed drivers are hired, and the licensing system itself costs the industry a substantial amount.

A further problem is that wages are being driven down at present, hurting employees who expect a good rate is return for their experience. In the end, according to Robertson, if immigration gets its way, most fully-licensed expat drivers will be forced to leave the country, tipping the logistics industry into chaos.

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