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July 2014, Volume 21, Number 3

Australia, New Zealand

Australia continues to debate the proper role of 457-work visas for skilled foreigners who can remain from three months to four years. There is no cap on the number of 457-visas that can be issued, and foreigners since 2013 can stay in Australia up to 90 days after they lose their jobs to seek another job.

Some farm labor contractors in Australia in June 2014 were reportedly advertising for "only Asian farm workers," a likely violation of the Fair Work Act if they are discriminating against non-Asian workers. Farmers said that labor contractors placed the ads without their knowledge.

New Zealand. As New Zealand prepares to rebuild Christchurch, which was damaged in a 2010 earthquake, half of the estimated 30,000 additional workers are expected to be migrants. The opposition Labor Party said that the Christchurch rebuild was an opportunity to put local or kiwi workers back to work.

Pacific Island nations want New Zealand to increase admissions under the Recognized Seasonal Employer scheme from 8,000 to 10,000 a year. RSE migrants report saving an average NZ$5,000 ($4,200) from their seasonal work in New Zealand.

Hardeep Singh, an Indian farm worker who complained of unauthorized workers in the Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchards, was moved from an office job to picking and fired in July 2014. The Ministry of Business Immigration and Employment says that it is trying to crack down on abuses in programs that allow foreign youth to work in New Zealand agriculture.