Up to 1,000 Irish truck drivers are wanted in New Zealand by recruitment firm, Canstaff. Canstaff claims that New Zealand is struggling to fill driving vacancies internally because young people not attracted to a career in haulage. They offer a relocation package aimed at tackling a shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers. Irish truck drivers will have to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) work visa.
It takes three years to qualify as a HGV driver in New Zealand. Canstaff is now offering a complete relocation package to HGV drivers in Ireland in order to ease the skills crisis. A number of haulage firms are willing to cover the cost of flights to New Zealand.
According to Canstaff managing director, Matt Jones, Irish truckers can expect to earn anywhere between €15 and €20 per hour in New Zealand, almost double the hourly average of €12 in Ireland. Jones has history of recruiting SMC Irish workers and adding them to New Zealand’s labour force.
Residence from Work Visa for New Zealand also available
Immigration New Zealand also offers a Residence from Work Visa: a temporary visa scheme that allows visa holders to apply for legal permanent residence in New Zealand after a period of 2 years.
Irish visa construction workers in New Zealand
In 2011 and 2012, Mr Jones travelled to Ireland in a bid to recruit Irish visa construction workers to help rebuild Christchurch in the aftermath of an earthquake that left the city badly damaged.
Mr Jones recalls: “When I was there hiring in 2011 and 2012 there were no jobs in Ireland. Clearly the economy has improved. This is about coming to have an experience of New Zealand. You are going to make more money than a truck driver in Ireland.”
However, Mr Jones is targeting Irish visa workers willing to relocate to New Zealand alone, rather than those looking to bring their families. He added that the biggest challenge for HGV drivers in New Zealand would be finding their way around. “They won’t be able to rely on Google maps all the time,” he stated.
It was recently reported that the average salary for a truck driver in New Zealand in 2016 reached NZ $51,200 (€31,000). However, wages have risen by as much as 20 percent in a bid to attract a higher calibre of candidate.
HGV drivers desperately needed in New Zealand
According to Mr Jones, the truck driver shortage in New Zealand is so dire that the number of trucks left idle has increased dramatically. Despite several New Zealand government initiatives to attract more skilled visa workers, the shortage of HGV drivers has been ongoing and Mr Jones argues that a ‘more immediate solution is needed to keep New Zealand’s wheels of commerce turning.’
In Mr Jones’ opinion, Irish SMC truck drivers will be attracted to New Zealand because of the ‘relaxed Kiwi lifestyle, guaranteed shifts and top dollar wages.’
To be eligible for a driving position, Irish visa applicants must possess a class five driving licence or equivalent to operate a heavy combination truck and trailer unit up to 25,000 kgs GCW, a minimum of two years’ experience, and be eligible for a New Zealand work visa.
Canstaff looks set to bring 70 dairy workers to Ireland from New Zealand to work on Irish farms. In June 2018, 70 Irish dairy workers will work in New Zealand.
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