After fifteen months of complete isolation from the country, New Zealand companies are in dire need of foreign labour. But polls show that residents do not support reopening borders quickly.
The so-called “hermit nation” strategy, which relies on closing borders completely to non-residents, has so far been quite successful in New Zealand. The country could show an enviable record in its fight against Covid-19: a total of 2,822 cases and 26 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded since the start of the pandemic.
But after fifteen months of this system, companies are faced with a shortage of skills that drive up costs and begin to affect productivity, Report it financial times :
Restaurant owners, in particular, are facing such a shortage of staff that they recently organized protests across the country to ask the government to relax visa rules for foreign workers.”
However, New Zealand’s strategy has a flaw: the very low vaccination rate. According to the latest available figures, only 11.7% of the population has been fully vaccinated so far. Until vaccination rates reach levels approaching those at which herd immunity is possible, companies are likely to be satisfied with a steadily shrinking pool of local workers, experts say.
A poll commissioned by the prime minister’s services has just shown that more than half of the population fear opening borders beyond travel bubbles that are limited to Australia and the Cook Islands, the two neighbours. New Zealand immediately Refers to the information portal Things. As for the complete closure of borders to travelers from “high-risk countries”, at least 84% of those questioned remain in favor.
The only concessions currently offered to foreign workers in New Zealand: Wellington has relaxed the rules on residence permits for those already in the country, in order to encourage them to stay, and 17,000 qualified professionals in the so-called professions “essential” are still allowed into the country.
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