Remote New Zealand dairy farms need more migrant workers

Remote New Zealand dairy farms need more migrant workers

Remote New Zealand dairy farms need more migrant workers

The Federated Farmers Organisation is launching an online help page with a tool which simplifies the costly and complex process of employing migrant workers.

According to figures released by New Zealand Immigration, the demand for migrants with experience in dairy farming is rising sharply. Farm owners and managers in the more remote areas are finding it difficult to hire the number of workers needed as many New Zealand nationals are not prepared to take on the challenging jobs.

According to a spokesperson for Federated Farmers’ dairy sector, farm owners would be happier to hire New Zealanders, but there are few applicants for the positions. The new online tool should make life simpler for farmers who are forced to employ migrant workers as it makes the process more transparent and straightforward.

However, New Zealand’s Council of Trade Unions disagrees with the search for migrants, saying that farmers should be employing Kiwis by means of offering better working conditions and higher pay. At present, average monthly salaries across the various farming jobs available range between NZ$38,000 and NZ$70,000.

Some 2,300 migrant workers are employed on dairy farms in New Zealand at the present time, and represent around 20 per cent of the total workforce. The largest number, around 50 per cent, come from the Philippines, with others migrating from India, Chili, Fiji and the UK.

Regions in need of workers include Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Southland, Otago and the agricultural region surrounding Canterbury. According to a Waikato farmer, Kiwis are not willing to undertake the long hours and physical work involved in dairy farming, as well as disliking the isolation of many of the farming communities.

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