Rural Contractors New Zealand Inc (RCNZ) and its UK equivalent, the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) have launched a new partnership to try and help solve the labour shortage gap for contractors.

‘Covid and closed borders severed a lot of the international ties our members had to contacts in the UK and whilst there are some of the bigger players who can sort experienced labour, the vast majority are a bit stuck on connecting to the UK labour market. This is where the trade bodies can help out, ‘says Andrew Olsen RCNZ CEO.

Jill Hewitt, NAAC CEO says: ‘The industry is having real problems in sourcing professional, experienced labour particularly in seasonal peaks. To try and assist, the NAAC and RCNZ are working in partnership to assist our members in exchanging labour. This is a fantastic opportunity for our team members to gain experience, see the world and keep busy year-round, also taking the pressure off our contracting members retaining staff through the winter.’

Border entry is now back to some normality since Covid, and it should be possible for staff to work year-round across the world. The UK welcomes NZ workers through the Youth Mobility Scheme (if aged 18 to 35 from NZ) to gain a working visa for up to 24 months. In addition, there is also a skilled worker option, sponsored by a UK employer. The NZ government provides UK citizens a holiday working visa for up to 35s who have not been to NZ before and an employer sponsored visa option for skilled workers who have been before.

The two CEOs say with the season in NZ just around the corner there an opportunity for UK agricultural contractors to get a visa and start in October. UK nationals can then return to the UK ready for our spring work alongside any NZ rural contractors seeking work. The process, exclusive to members of both associations and their workers is simple.

  1. Check the contractor is a member of RCNZ or NAAC.
  2. UK workers can email CVs to [email protected]. RCNZ members will receive the CVs and make direct contact with workers to discuss potential employment.
  3. NZ workers can email CVs to [email protected]. NAAC members will be sent the CV’s and can make direct contact with workers to discuss potential employment and verify credentials.

It should be noted that neither the NAAC or RCNZ can verify the status or professionalism of exchange workers. This will be down to individual employees.