11 May 2022

Accelerated border reopening and immigration changes welcomed


The reopening of New Zealand’s border in full and long-anticipated immigration changes announced today will bolster economic growth in the Canterbury region and provide a boost for businesses that are desperate to find staff.


“Border settings have had a profound impact on our economy, and today’s long-awaited announcement of an accelerated border reopening is great news for businesses in the Canterbury region who have been eagerly awaiting the return of tourism,” says Leeann Watson, Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.


“New Zealand is one of the last countries in the world to reopen its border and it is going to take some time to rebuild tourism infrastructure to a pre-pandemic level.


“For our retailers, hospitality, and tourism providers this will be the most significant announcement for them in two years, as we look forward to an increased flow of international visitors to our region.


“For our exporters and manufacturers, this removes another barrier to doing business in a globally uncertain environment and further enables them to reconnect with their customers.


“The Canterbury region has faced significant skill shortages in every sector and today’s changes to immigration settings form one part of the solution to alleviate mounting workforce challenges,” says Leeann.


“We desperately need international skills, alongside increasing the skills and capabilities of New Zealanders, and have done for a very long time.  The Canterbury region alone is forecast to require 10,000 additional workers per year to fill the gap.


“This is a signal that the Government acknowledges the significant challenges associated with the labour market and that immigration is a crucial component to address them.


“The further certainty that today’s announcement will provide to businesses around addressing labour market constraints and reopening New Zealand are issues that the Chamber has advocated strongly on and we are pleased to see results.”


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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Leeann Watson, Chief Executive, 027 447 7775, [email protected]

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) is a not-for-profit membership-based service organisation that has been the home and voice of business in the Canterbury region since 1859. Comprised of over 2,600 member organisations that represent over 60,000 employees, The Chamber’s purpose is to empower people in business by providing advisory and consultancy support in employment relations, human resources, health and safety, international trade, manufacturing, migrant support, research and development grants, and training and development in many areas.