The government is extending the visas of many migrant workers to ease labour shortfalls. Working holiday and employer-assisted work visas will be pushed forward six months. A 12-month stand down period for Essential Skills visa holders working in New Zealand for three years will also be put on hold until January 2022. Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi says the changes will help retain the migrant workforce already in New Zealand to supplement employers’ efforts get New Zealanders to do the jobs. Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis says this is a pragmatic decision by government and will come as a relief for the primary sector heading into the Christmas and New Year period. There are about 192,000 migrant workers in New Zealand, but without the changes, numbers would fall as visas expired and border restrictions denied entry to new workers. Employers will still have to prove no New Zealanders were available before hiring new migrant workers.