Thursday, July 08, 2010

New Zealand needs More skilled migrants (incl Chefs..)
With immigration numbers at its lowest since the recession was first announced in November 2008, New Zealand is now in serious need of skilled migrants to help strengthen the country’s economy.

According to Statistics New Zealand, in the last year, 15,200 more people departed permanently for Australia than arrived.

The numbers spell trouble for New Zealand says Business New Zealand, as they mean the country should be doing more to attract skilled migrants from overseas. Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O’Reilly says New Zealand has the added disadvantage of competing with Australia for skilled migrants, and so needs to offer better jobs and higher wages.

Working In Visas’ licensed immigration adviser Andy King says there is no shortage of skilled workers wanting to move to New Zealand but there has been a decrease in the number of applications, as the rules tend to become progressively stricter. For King, it’s important that the Immediate Skill Shortage List is updated on a more regular basis, to better reflect the country’s needs.

New Zealand won’t cap migration numbers

Unlike Britain, New Zealand won’t cap the number of foreign workers allowed to settle in the country.

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says New Zealand needs skilled migrants to grow, and the country wouldn’t benefit from capping the number of foreign workers who bring their skills to the country.

“We’ve always matched our temporary permits to the demands of certain occupations,” says Coleman, “and the system has always worked well for New Zealand and is constantly being reviewed.” .

The British government will limit the number of foreign workers entering the country to 24,100 until April 2011.

Chef shortages hit restaurants

Restaurant owners in New Zealand are warning the government about a shortage of chefs and are worried not enough is being done to attract those skills to the country.

The Department of Labour (DOL), the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and the Hospitality Association of New Zealand (Hanz) will meet with hotel representatives to further discuss the issue.

Some restaurateurs are reporting increased difficulties getting work visas for their staff, a situation which is forcing a lot of chefs out of the country, even though their employers wish to keep them.

“They keep coming back to us and saying there are people in New Zealand who can do these jobs,” says Tracy Scott, regional manager for Hanz, as quoted by Business Day. “Show them to us. Where are they? They're not applying for jobs.”

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development need to communicate more clearly on the needs for different skills in New Zealand. “It’s not much good Immigration New Zealand saying that MSD is telling them they’ve got suitable people [to fill jobs] and it turns out those people aren’t suitable.”

Sharp rise in divorces in Kuwait

A law issued by Kuwait more than 20 years ago to increase financial benefits for women separated from their husbands has only led to a sharp rise in divorces in the oil-rich Gulf emirate, according to an official report.

Nearly a third of the marriages among the Kuwaitis ended up in divorce and most of the divorces happen in the first five years of the marriage, said the report by Kuwaiti Umma council (parliament), citing Justice Ministry figures.

“As the sun rises on Kuwait every day, around 30 national couples get married…as the sun sets, nearly a third of those married (in previous years) are divorced,” said the report, published in the Arabic language daily Al Qabas.

“Justice Ministry’s figures showed divorces are on the increase in the country…from around 31 per cent in early 1980s, the divorce rate has risen to an average 35.4 per cent over the past 10 years.”

The report said nearly 65 per cent of the divorces take place in the first five years of marriage, describing those years as “the most serious period in marriage.”

“There are several reasons for the rise in divorce rates in Kuwait, on top of which is the enactment of the Personal Law in 1984,” it said.

“This law has largely increased benefits for divorced wives…under this law, divorced women get housing, monthly alimony, a car, a driver and a housemaid…there are also other factors that contribute to higher divorce rates, including financial, ethical and behavioral reasons.”

Asians hungry for farm investments

Close to 650 million Asians are suffering from hunger and the situation will continue to worsen unless spending on the farm sector is dramatically increased, United Nations food experts have warned.

More than 60 million Asians became malnourished last year, raising the regional total to 642 million, Jacques Diouf, head of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said.

“The sheer magnitude of food insecurity is the result of the low priority that has been given to agriculture in economic development policies,” Diouf said.

Food prices in Asia remain between 20 and 30 per cent higher than 2007 levels, FAO Asia Pacific director Hiroyuki Konuma added.

The world as a whole needs annual farm investments of $200 billion over 40 years to feed the world’s human population, expected to grow to 9.1 billion by 2050, he said. In Asia alone, $120 billion is needed each year.

“We have a shortfall of $40 billion for this region,” Konuma said. He added that governments had been lulled into complacency by farm-yield breakthroughs from the 1960s that raised farm outputs three-fold, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty.

But he said in the ten years leading to the 2007 to 2008 global food crisis, annual output growth around the world stagnated for rice and wheat two of the most important cereals.

More than 25 per cent of Asian children aged five or under are moderately to severely underweight and more than a third are moderately or severely stunted, Asian Development Bank president Haruhiko Kuroda said.

“These statistics belie a crisis that will only get worse in the years to come unless immediate action is taken,” he said.

“Add to this rapid population growth, climate change and water shortages, and the need for action is blindingly apparent.”