RWC 2011 visitors viewed as potential skilled migrants to NZ.

Source: NZ dominion post. Article on
RWC 2011 visitors viewed as potential skilled migrants to NZ.

Rugby World Cup visitors will be spammed by the Government in an effort to entice skilled migrants to New Zealand’s “exciting, vibrant and healthy” way of life.

Passenger arrivals cards, which must be filled in by everyone arriving at any entrance port, have been amended to include the question: “Are you here for the Rugby World Cup?”

Under a Labour Department proposal, visitors who answer “yes” – and whose occupations are on the list of skills shortages – will receive marketing material, including emails encouraging them to migrate.

They will be urged to sign up to the Government’s promotional website New Zealand Now, which extols our “unique lifestyle” and offers assistance and information about migration. A $67,000 advertising campaign aimed at skilled workers on holiday will see fliers placed in hotels, i-Sites and transport outlets, and Immigration New Zealand advertisements in Rugby World Cup 2011 publications, online and in social media.

A Labour Department spokesman said possible privacy implications of using people’s personal information were being discussed with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Acting head of immigration Craig Owen said the intention was to capitalise on visitors’ initial impressions. “Having seen the country, they might be interested in returning with a view to obtaining residence under one of the skilled migrant or business categories. Marketing such as this is in the interests of economic growth via tourism, study and immigration – we want Rugby World Cup 2011 visitors to consider returning to live, work and/or play.”

Information given on arrival cards would be used “over the longer term” to market New Zealand opportunities, including targeting people with occupations for which New Zealand has significant shortages.

“While the Labour Department has ongoing migrant attraction programmes, this one has been designed specifically to take advantage of an expected 85,000 World Cup visitors.”

Those who might expect to be targeted include engineers, surveyors, regional planners, early childhood and secondary school teachers, anaesthetists, audiologists, midwives, social workers, IT staff, chefs, mechanics, ship captains and film animators.

Institution of Professional Engineers chief executive Andrew Cleland said there had been a shortage of engineers here for about a decade. After the Christchurch earthquake, structural engineers in particular were in hot demand.

But he warned that overseas engineers would still need training in New Zealand industry codes.

Information on arrivals cards is used by agencies including Customs, the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, Immigration, Statistics NZ, police, and the health, justice, tourism and transport ministries.

A breakdown of World Cup visitors shows an expected 29,000 from Australia, 19,500 from Britain and Ireland, 8800 from France, 6900 from the United States and Canada, 5200 from South Africa and a further 15,600 from elsewhere.

– The Dominion Post – Michelle Duff