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NZ Borders are open – Tips to attracting & retaining foreign workers

New Zealand’s borders are now open and the war for talent continues. After receiving many questions for employer clients who are looking overseas for skilled workers, Arno Nothnagel, our NZ Immigration Director, provides a range of tips to assist in attracting and retaining foreign workers.

It’s not just New Zealand who is suffering a skilled worker shortage and we are currently competing with other countries, like Australia and further afield, for the same offshore skilled workers. Here are some ways to stand out from the crowd and attract workers to your business:

Build Your Business Reputation

Employers must get their brand out there and showcase their business as an employer of choice. Make it easy for foreign workers researching your business to see you offer an excellent workplace environment, work-life balance, and challenging and satisfying workload.

There are several ways to get the word out.

  • Ensure your website is current, portrays the right image, and is up to date.
  • Publish case studies on your website or via media using public relations.
  • Keep your social media pages active, and engaging, and demonstrate excellent customer service.
  •  Showcase your company’s culture through sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram (if appropriate)


Demonstrate Cultural Awareness

Depending on which geographic regions you are targeting for workers, illustrate how your company and local area can fulfil their wishlists for their new role, and you are aware and sensitive to your target workforce’s culture and priorities.

Often workers are looking beyond your company to what their quality of life will be if they move to New Zealand. Some look for a safer place to raise a family than their home country, while others may value religious freedom, open spaces and nature, or even the opportunity to earn a higher wage to send home to family. Whatever their priorities, it’s worthwhile for your company to demonstrate it can fulfil their requirements.


Target offshore advertising appropriately

While local New Zealand advertising will be limited to a set of criteria specified in the visa documentation, employers who choose to advertise overseas or use overseas recruiters can include information that will appeal to specific target cultures or countries. That could be local churches or community groups and clubs, details about school proximity and general lifestyle information.


Showcase your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

At the interview stage, it’s good to highlight the benefits of working for your company and coming to New Zealand (compared to another employer or country). That could be highlighting the package you are offering with a good salary and working conditions, or it may mean highlighting lifestyle factors that overseas workers will welcome.

Employers should also help their overseas workers navigate the immigration process and understand the visa pathways open to them towards residency. Take the time to assist them in making it more accessible. That can be managed by your HR team or an independent immigration expert who can liaise directly with them.


Thorough Induction Process

As part of the new visa requirements, employers must provide settlement information to new overseas employees, including how to get set up for tax and open a local bank account, among other details. However, over and above the visa requirements, employers can include information about the town and region, schools, clubs, churches, activities and events.

Many employers also host welcome functions or stage cultural events, including showcasing New Zealand and Maori culture or hosting events that recognise and celebrate multicultural workplaces. The added benefit is involving local employees to welcome their overseas co-workers.

Beyond regional information, an induction process within the business to highlight career pathways, systems training, OH&S, company benefits and other relevant details make new employees feel valued and welcomed.

A good immigration agent can provide a guide to the best things to include in a welcome pack for new foreign employees. Making them feel special from the outset can be just the first impression you need to encourage loyalty to your business and stop them from moving jobs too quickly.


For expert immigration advice including assistance in the employer accreditation for AEWV, contact Arno:

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