New Zealand needs skilled workers to rebuild city

Tens of thousands of skilled workers are needed in New Zealand to work on reconstruction projects in Christchurch following the earthquake that hit the city earlier this year.

The Canterbury Employment and Skills Board (CESB) went to the UK to recruit more skilled workers and present at two job expos organised by Opportunities New Zealand in London and Manchester.

New Zealand has been struck by several earthquakes over the past year. On June 13, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck near the city of Christchurch on the South Island, injuring 46 people. Prior to this, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake occurred on February 22 near the same city, killing 181 people and injuring more than 1,500 others and was the country's deadliest disaster since 1931.

Alex Bouma, CESB's deputy chairman, said British skilled workers could play a important role in the rebuild. "There is going to be a huge economic opportunity over the next three to 10 years. The UK expos will play a crucial role in providing businesses with the employees they need," he explained.

Opportunities are available for people with skills in construction, engineering and IT in Christchurch over the next 10 years. In particular, those with experience needed include scaffolders, quantity surveyors, urban and regional planners, electricians, mechanics and infrastructure project managers, according to the Canterbury Skill Shortage List.

In total, up to 20,000 engineering and construction workers are required to work on Christchurch and its surround villages and towns.

Eligible applicants can apply for a visa under the Skilled Migrant Category.

With large infrastructure projects only at the design stage, the demand for staff is expected to increase further. New Zealand Immigration officials hope that many workers will be persuaded to move to New Zealand permanently.

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