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Truck Drivers Barred From Work To Residence Pathway

Drivers who apply for an Accredited Employer Work Visa will now not be eligible to apply for a Transport Work to Residence Visa. File photo. Photo: 123rf.com

Shutting truck and bus drivers out of the Work to Residence Pathway could slow the economy and increase costs for businesses and families, Transporting New Zealand says.

Immigration New Zealand announced on Sunday that drivers who applied for an Accredited Employer Work Visa would not be eligible to apply for a Transport Work to Residence Visa.

It also said 18 previously announced roles would be removed from the 'Green List', a fast track to residency, and the Construction and infrastructure Sector Agreement.

Some of these roles include panel beaters, road traffic controllers, road roller operators and linemakers.

Transporting New Zealand's policy advisor, Billy Clemens, said the pathway helped local businesses compete with international employers.



"Offering that pathway to residence after two years of commitment to New Zealand was an important incentive to attracting those skilled, experienced operators in a highly competitive international market."

Clemens said the pathway should be kept open for at least 12 months.

"That would allow our sector and members just a more adequate time period to address those acute skill shortages."

The national association for civil construction and engineering, Civil Contractors New Zealand, has also taken issue with the changes.

Chief executive Alan Pollard said the changes to the Green List jobs were putting big infrastructure projects at risk.

"We need to be able to move very quickly when the projects that are promised by the government are actually properly funded and committed," he said.

"Without access to a smooth running immigration pathway, we're going to struggle to resource it."

Projects like new Roads of National Significance, water network upgrades and cyclone recovery work would all suffer under the changes, Pollard said.

The announcement took the association by surprise, he said.

"We are very keen to work with the government to find a better solution that allows for the reinstatement of the roles."

Pollard said some of the roles removed from the Green List were critical to deliver on some of the large scale infrastructure projects proposed by the government.

The transport minister, Simeon Brown, declined to comment.

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