Tourism industry calls for Government to rethink its working holiday visa

  • 07/07/2022

A tourism industry spokesperson is pleading for the Government to rethink the working holiday visa to allow more people to enter the country.

Haka Tours general manager Eve Lawrence told Melissa Chan-Green on the AM show they desperately need staff to help service people arriving for holidays.

She said so far there is only a 10 percent uptake of the current approvals coming into New Zealand, and while it is not "prime time" for visa holders to come into the country yet the Government needs to open its visa applications.

According to the Immigration NZ website, workers from 45 countries can apply for our working holiday visas, but applications from 16 countries are still closed.

"We desperately need those visas to be opened up for people to be able to apply now, not when the actual working visa scheme opens on July 30," Lawrence said.

Speaking with AM on Wednesday Christopher Luxon said the Government has to take action to address dire staff shortages across the country.

He said working holiday visa application costs should be removed, the age bracket should be extended to 35 instead of 30 and people who have already visited once should be able to extend their visa for a second time.

Labour Minister Megan Wood told the AM show earlier this week the Working Holiday Visas are open for application for the vast majority of people overseas. She conceded a few countries aren't yet able to apply but most can.

But Woods said as far as she was aware there was "no impediment" for applying for Working Holiday Visas.

"The doors are open and [we're] actively encouraging people to come to New Zealand for their working holiday," she said.

Lawrence agrees with National's suggested changes, in particular, she said the visa fees, which have recently been hiked up, should be lowered and the age cap should be lifted.

"We have already lifted it for the UK to 35 years old, so why not do that for other regions that we are so heavily reliant on?" Lawrence said.

But she said it shouldn't stop there, and suggested the cap should be even higher than age 35.

"The great resignation is a real thing, people are starting to want to travel more and when they travel somewhere for months on end they also want to work," she said.