A leading New Zealand employment group is seeking to link up with an Irish agency to place hundreds of highly-experienced migrant workers.

The workers are being forced to leave New Zealand because of a sharp economic downturn and stricter employment laws which have been introduced by the Wellington government.

“The New Zealand economy has recently entered a deep recession which has resulted in many skilled migrant workers losing their jobs.

“Rather than return to their home countries these skilled workers are looking for employment opportunities in Ireland,” said Bruce Porteous of New Zealand firm Immigration Placement Services.

“The majority of the workers will be dairy farm workers but we also have many other trades [including] tractor operators, drivers and overseas vets,” he explained.

“At present we are looking for an Irish agency which would like to place workers from New Zealand,” Porteous said.

Strict new rules introduced by the New Zealand government in recent years mean that migrant workers must leave the country once their work permits expire after three to five years. New Zealand’s economy has struggled to grow in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which inflicted a particularly heavy toll on the country’s key agriculture and tourism sectors.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand recently hiked interest rates to a 14-year high in a bid to tame inflation which reached 4%. However, the high interest rates have put a brake on economic activity.