Of IT jobs and immigrants

Employers need to more open to hiring immigrants, and immigrants need to be more proactive in seeking work, says Rohith Anabheri

Why is IT on the Immigration Department’s short skills list and why are the IT migrants finding it difficult to find IT jobs in New Zealand? Why is it so difficult to get an IT-related job after pursuing your studies in New Zealand and paying international fees?

Is it because of universities not complying with the ever-changing requirements? Or because employers are reluctant to recruit the new “international” graduates? It should be understood that the situation needs to be resolved and I personally attribute this to employers wanting to hire people who have New Zealand experience. And inflexible government policies mean there is a lack of resources available to help companies train new graduates.

It is true that on a fairly regular basis, migrants are finding it very difficult to get jobs despite having vast experience overseas and in many cases speaking excellent English. The problem is, New Zealand employers are reluctant to give migrants a chance. My impression is that there are several problem areas:

• Migrants’ overseas experience sometimes has no equivalent in NZ, for example, working for aid agencies in a war zone;

• Qualified migrants are not advised that an overseas qualification may not be recognised by NZQA and that in order to gain recognition they will have to spend several more years studying;

• Prospective employers are afraid that customers will be put off by foreign accents;

• Migrants are often better qualified than prospective employers;

• Some migrants can be seen as pushy and aloof; Some migrants don’t want to put the hard work in to getting a job — they want teachers and agencies to find them a job;

• Some migrants do not like to use the phone — accents are stronger over the phone.

On the other side, I believe that migrants need to be proactive, but employers need to be more open to hiring migrants. What I would also comment on is the other side of the coin, ie the viewpoint of prospective employers.

I believe there have been instances where a company has hired a migrant, and then as soon as the migrant was granted permanent residency, they quit the job and moved elsewhere.

I’ve seen numerous instances where a migrant works for a while, but then gets homesick or learns of family problems back home, so they quit the job and return to their home country.

Also, if it turns out that a new hire is not able to do the job adequately, the company has no choice but to go through a long and detailed process (as laid down by legislation) to remove that person from employment.

It is important for prospective employers to realise that migrants come to New Zealand with hope that they will be given opportunities.

They have great ambitions and once their hopes are shattered it’s quite disturbing.

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