As a maritime nation, New Zealand is reliant on the free and efficient movement of vessels to, within and from our harbours. Without regular and ongoing maintenance, silting decreases the draught available to ships, while the development of larger vessels requires greater depth for ships to operate. Maintaining the capacity of our harbours is critical to the promotion of trade and our export industries.
Late last year, five of New Zealand’s major port companies, PrimePort Timaru, Napier, Taranaki, Lyttleton and Tauranga signed a 10 year deal with a long standing and reputable overseas based dredging company called Dutch Dredging B.V. (Dutch Dredging), to share the dredging services around the country. The contract for this deal was signed in the presence of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and the Dutch and New Zealand Ministers of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp and Steven Joyce, as reported by Stuff in its article published on 8 November 2016.
The contract meant Dutch Dredging was to deploy one of its trailing suction hopper dredgers called ‘Albatros’ to New Zealand for the work required. This was to be permanently stationed in New Zealand over the term of the contract.
As dredgers need to be manned by local seamen, that meant suitably qualified New Zealand citizens and resident seamen will be required to operate them. More jobs for New Zealanders!
However, dredges come in different types for different purposes and can have harmful effects on the marine and aquatic environment. It was therefore critical for Dutch Dredging to ensure that Albatros is operated by qualified engineers with specialised knowledge and experience.
Dutch Dredging believed it would be appropriate to send their Dutch employees, a Master and a Chief Engineer, to New Zealand for a short stint and for a specific purpose, i.e. to handover the initial work required, provide training by transferring their skills and knowledge to local seamen, and travel to New Zealand to provide other special assistance on an as-needed basis. Dutch Dredging was to continue to employ them directly. No New Zealand based employer was involved.
Dutch Dredging knocked on our doors and sought our professional assistance. They needed work visas for the two men so they could readily land in New Zealand on a set date before the arrival of Albatros. We arranged for multiple entry, Specific Purpose Work Visas to allow them to come and go on an as-needed basis and perform the work required.
The preparation for their visa applications was a challenging exercise. But the application process via the online portal was rather well done, without seeking the assistance of visa application centres and having to send in their original passports. Within a matter of three working days, we managed to get their visas through. It was a swift process handled amicably by immigration officers based in London.
These men are due to arrive in New Zealand mid-September 2017 for the specific work they have been assigned to do. They bring a wealth of specialised skills and knowledge to New Zealand.
Dutch Dredging have expressed their delight at the speed with which the visas were issued, and for the explanation of the visa conditions and what their employees can expect of the arrivals process.