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12 October 2012
The New Zealand Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has joined his cabinet colleague, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, in announcing the establishment of the Christchurch Skills and Employment Hub.
The Hub will be based in Christchurch. Four 'skills brokers' will help to match job vacancies with workers seeking employment. Where there are no New Zealand citizens who are able and willing to fill any vacancy, Hub staff will help international talent to step in. the Hub is expected to 'go live' in November 2012.
The New Zealand government is accelerating the process of rebuilding the city of Christchurch after the devastating earthquake of February 2011. Much of the city was devastated and the rebuild will be by far the biggest infrastructure project in New Zealan history.
The rebuild has already been hampered by a lack of available skilled tradesmen. Employers have complained of a lack of skilled workers available in many trades. Many residents left the city after the earthquake so reducing the number of available workers who can help with the rebuilding. In addition, the sheer scale of the project means that there are not enough workers available.
The Hub will match available workers with job vacancies. Four 'skills brokers' will be based in Christchurch. A website will also advertise positions and there will be coordination between government departments and agencies. For example, the Hub will liaise with Work and Income, the New Zealand unemployment agency. Where there are no available and suitable New Zealand workers able to fill a role, the skills brokers will assist overseas applicants in finding positions and in completing visa applications.
Mr Guy said 'this will give New Zealanders the first crack at jobs in the rebuild and save employers' time if they have to apply to Immigration for a work visa for new staff'.
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