Initial survey findings indicate agricultural contracting is an industry with a $2.4 billion dollar investment in machinery. While providing services to 80-90% of New Zealand farms, it is currently facing a staff shortage of 29% for the 2020/21 season.
Typical Agricultural Contractor Profile
- 23 years in business
- $4.5m invested in machinery
- 91 farms serviced
- 18 staff
- $225,000 invested in machinery per employee
- 5 staff required for the season – 2.5 trainees & 5 experienced workers
- Main concerns for 2020/21 season – Health & safety, public liability, and increased competition for experienced staff
With overseas seasonal workers making up 29% of a typical contractor’s total seasonal workforce, current border restrictions risk causing major disruption to the agricultural sector.
Confronted with a situation of going into the upcoming season without the experienced overseas workers upon which the industry relies, contractors appear to be left with few options:
- Park up expensive machinery
- Put inexperienced operators in expensive machines
- Poach experienced operators from other contractors
- Do nothing, and do as much as possible
Border restrictions are something everyone is having to learn to live with for the foreseeable future.
Right now, these border restrictions are an issue for agriculture contractors. Next month, when the window for hiring skilled overseas workers starts to close, it will start developing into a real problem.
If the contractors are unable to find the skilled machinery operators they need for the season, by the time the season starts kicking off in September, the current issue will have escalated into a full-blown crisis.
The government is fully aware of this looming crisis. It is entirely avoidable by bringing in overseas seasonal workers as “critical workers”, under the recently announced border exceptions.
To help the contractors we have worked with over the years navigate through these uncharted waters, we are pulling together the information to support applications for border exemptions for skilled overseas seasonal workers.
We’ve got a team of 10 people working on it. If you’re interested, get in touch.CONTACT US
30 June 2020