FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How is the process, what you get and when
about bringing foreign drivers that are not used to the left side of the road: Are they a good choice for New Zealand?
Although it is confusing at first and the brain needs extra focus for a couple of hours, it takes less than you think: specially for a professional driver. It depends on the person, but the brain switches naturally in less than 3 days.
Why European truck drivers? Are all European drivers good for New Zealand?
Not all European truck drivers are equal. Some countries have a strong accent in Health and Safety at work since the year 2000 and a strong focus on risk assessment (Germany, Netherlands, UK, Spain, France, Portugal, Austria, Benelux countries, Scandinavian countries...). Other countries are barely starting on those kind of regulations (Eastern Europe). We only bring you the ones that have a strong base of H&S from home. Not the "she'll be alright" people. Nor the ones from countries where tailgating is a national sport.
If European drivers are only used to European trucks, can they drive a Road Ranger?
Those older than 45 will most likely have experience with a double de-clutch gear box similar to Road Rangers: (Barreiros, Avia, Pegaso, Americans Mack and REO, European brands old models from Setra, DAF, FIAT trucks, Iveco and Continental).
The younger ones will have experience with manual Synchro 18 speed which is very similar to an American crashbox, only they need to learn a couple of things 1) use clutch pedal midway, not to the bottom and 2) there is no synchro-mesh so they must synchronize the gears themselves, taking into account how they handle the revs, specially to downgear. Average time till it "clicks in": between 2 and 8 hours.
We do not provide drivers that can only drive automatics.
Why are European drivers not that interested to immigrate to New Zealand as other professionals do?
The EU countries have tackle fatigue going to the cause of the problem: working hours.
Truck drivers in Europe can only work 96 hours fortnightly. They usually count the waiting times as resting time to maximize their performance. The digital tachograph is almost impossible to jigger with and very high fines are given to those who try, starting at € 1000. One second of driving beyond your allowed time is a big fine too. That allows truck drivers to have a good protection against exploitation and fatigue. They have plenty of free time to rest and they can enjoy family life. Explaining to a European driver that the driving week could be 70 hours and they will use a paper logbook makes them feel like the move might not be worthy.
Offering a European driver the promise that he will be given only around 55 hours a week will attract truck drivers that want to have a life out of the job to enjoy New Zealand and their families. The work-life balance is very important for them.
Are European drivers used to narrow roads? I only see them in motorways
European drivers are used to all kinds of roads, as loading and unloading will not necessarily happen in an Industrial State near the motorway: that land is too expensive for most businesses. European drivers go everywhere: crossing medieval villages almost touching balconies, top of mountains to load from an old factory, into old industrial states that were designed for smaller trucks, reversing 100 meters into old factories because there is no other way, rural roads with one lane but two-handed, etc They are used to maneuvering in tight spots, it is the every day thing.
How do European drivers get their licence?
In the European Union, class 2 is not popular, as you can go from driving a car to a class 4 license.
A driver must sit 3 exams for a class 4 license (theory, maneuvering and road test) and another 3 for the class 5, always with a Driving School. The driving School will provide him with at least 20 hours of driving practice per license accompanied by a professional instructor. If the instructor thinks the rookie is ready, he will register the aspiring driver for the exams. The theory exam is done in a classroom of the closest Department of Transport office. The practicals are assessed by an Examining Officer from the Department of Transport who is extremely demanding. It is common to fail at least once. If that happen then the driver will go back to driving school, book a few more hours of driving and book his exam again. You do not pass until the Examining Officer is satisfied. He works for the government and only has the safety of everyone in mind. He does not care if you spend thousands of euros and have tried 5 times.
Same story with the class 5 licence.
The driving schools work hard to prepare their rookies to pass every exam at the first try.
But the license does not allow you to drive a truck. You need a professional course called CPC in UK, CAP in Spain, FIMO in France,... which is 130 hours theory and 10 hours practice. It includes law, tachograph, defensive driving, fuel saving techniques, etc in deep. There is an exam to pass after this and it is definitely not an open book one. Companies pay for it, if you do not pass it you do not drive trucks/buses. Every 5 years it is renewed with a 35 hours course. Always in person.
The "Dangerous Good course" is 50 hours and has a very demanding exam. It is renewed with a 21 hour course every 5 years.
For driving tankers they need to pass a "tankers course" of 10 hours or they cannot legally drive a tanker.
When they land in their first job, they are very prepared in theory, they know what they are handling, and they have a robust basic driving skill that needs to be improved with the right habits over time. One month to three month tandem driving is the norm. When they get a truck as a solo driver they are very well prepared.
How good is their English level?
It depends a lot on the country of origin and their age ( English was introduced in Schools replacing French as a foreign language at different times in different countries). Apart form the UK drivers, the Scandinavian, the Dutch and the Swiss tend to have a very good English. While Germans and Austrians use to have an intermediate level. Portugal, Spain and Eastern Europeans tend to have a low intermediate, but many have been or are at the moment working in the UK. We only bring drivers that have an adequate level of English and the company sponsoring will have the last word on that.
Why Latin American truck drivers? Are all Latin American drivers good for New Zealand?
Not all Latin American truck drivers are equal. Those in the south (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay) have access to some Road Rangers, some Manual EuroSynchros and some Automatics . The rest might only have experience with Road Rangers (15 speed box is the most common) and some Manual Synchros Scanias and Volvos.
The Health and Safety culture varies enormously, it is definitely behind NZ standards but not much in Chile, Uruguay and North Argentina. While drivers from Peru, Colombia and Venezuela may have some good H&S skills depending on the companies they worked for or if they had exposure to mines or oil and gas areas that are managed by Western Standards. Many have worked in Spain in past sponsorships given in the 2000's. We only bring you the ones with the right skills and mentality for New Zealand.
Are roads in Latin America similar to those in New Zealand?
For sure, most countries have single lane roads with no hard shoulders, plenty of mountain passes over 3.000 meters and changing weather conditions. Colombia is a mountainous country with very similar roads, and many all weathered roads for trucks. It is very similar only lacking ice and snow, but having plenty of muddy roads. Perú has a flat coastal area and a humangus Andes mountains with roads going up and down 3000 m mountain passes all day. They are not used to rain but they are used to ice and snow in winter. Chile and Argentina have flat dry areas in the coast, wet climate in the south (similar to our West Coast) with plenty of rain, ice and snow. Their border is the Andes mountains, with 9 passes over 5.000 m high. We will only bring you the drivers with experience in all those areas, not the ones that roll in the flat. Uruguay has a very irregular topography and a subtropical climate. They do not have snow or ice but they suffer of thick fog in some areas, strong winds in others. Many drivers go to Argentina or Brazil regularly to deliver goods and are exposed to other kinds of roads. Venezuela has highly regarded truck drivers, sponsored all around South America and also in Spain. Despite having roads mostly on tropical plains, they do have 3.000 m passes in the North and they frequently deliver goods to Colombia, who has varied and very challenging roads. They do not know ice or snow, but they know muddy roads very well.
Other countries like Mexico or Brazil have challenging roads that prepare their drivers perfectly well to fit in New Zealand but their road culture is radically different (H&S is nonexistent, accepted use of drugs, etc) so drivers from certain countries have to be handpicked.
How good is their English level?
This is their weakest point, as their passport does not allow them to visit USA or Canada without a visa and their currency is too weak to spend holidays or pay for an English course. So it depends a lot on the country of origin and their age. Mexicans from the border area with USA go regularly to deliver across the border and listen to English on a daily basis. Puerto Ricans are bilingual English/Spanish. Chileans, Argentinians and Peruvians that have worked in mines have had the chance to practice their English with the foreign workers. The rest have a low intermediate level.
But many Latin Americans have worked in USA temporary in the past or had a stint working in USA islands in a specific project. Those have upper intermediate level.
We interview in Spanish and English and we only accept candidates that have an adequate level of English and the company sponsoring them will have the last word on that.
How do Latin American drivers get their licence?
It depends on the country, as in many of them the corruption is so bad that they just buy it from the Driving Schools. That is why those countries are in red in the map, among other things.
In countries where they cannot buy it, the have to go through a course for class 4 and another course for class 5 through a driving School only. There is a theory and a practical test for each class.
The examining officer comes from a government agency and is usually the tough type.
Once the driver gets his license, they can land into a job as a driver assistant with a veteran driver. It is common that the assistant stays for 6 months to a year until he is given a truck for him to drive solo. If the veterans are not giving good feed back to the company then the rookie never gets his own truck.
However in Argentina they also need to pass a professional driving course called LINTI: Starts with a thorough health check, a criminal background check and prove they have the high school certificate. Only after those steps can they finally go to a 40 hour course about professional driving techniques and health and safety on the road. If they pass the exam they get their LINTI permit and can drive trucks. The class 5 license is not enough in Argentina to be able to drive trucks.
Let's say I am interested in bringing in a driver with certain skills and English level. Now what?
Contact us to discuss exactly the kind of driver you need, what he/she will drive, the run that will be assigned. We will find you exactly what you need based on their experience. We screen our candidates before they join our Driver's pool so we know what we have.
If you are interested in any of them we will program an interview for you to assess the driver and if you decide to go forward, we will explain you the process and sign a contract for the recruiting. We will organize the trip (he will pay for the flight), coach your future driver about New Zealand road culture and prepare him for passing the theory class 5 test. We make sure he has all the paperwork ready that is necessary to apply for the visa. We get a flat fee for this.
For an extra fee we can take care of the visa (We work with a bilingual English/Spanish licensed immigration adviser) and we can take care of the licence conversion to New Zealand class 5 (theory and practical test, plus logbook course). We work with Drive It, Taranaki owned and operated company.
Our promise: your driver will arrive to NZ with studied class 5 theory ready to pass the theory test. The class 5 practical test will happen within the first week.
I am interested in importing some good drivers, but they need to be very specific: loggers with Road Ranger experience. Because training is expensive and it is too easy to damage trucks when you have no experience in logging. Do you have that kind of professional in your pool?
Yes we do. Most Latin Americans have worked with Road Rangers (mostly 15 speed) and we have people with logging truck experience in our driver's pool of candidates. Contact us and we will send you the ones who match your needs.
How much does it cost, per driver?
We charge flat rate for selecting, interviewing, screening background and coaching the driver (Road culture and cultural differences) and preparing him to pass the class 5 theory test.
We charge an extra flat fee for processing the visa (with our bilingual licensed advisor).
We charge an extra flat fee for setting him up to pass his class 5 theory and class 5 practical (With Drive it, Driving School in Taranaki).
It is all more affordable than you think. Have your trucks rolling with drivers that can handle these trucks and roads and have the peace of mind of a hassle free visa process.
European or Latin American drivers do not face any requirements from their countries, it is only about getting all the usual documents from the applicant, add the company documents needed and apply.
A Essential Skills work visa takes as an average 25 working days to be approved (Pre-Covid times) so one month after the application your driver can be on his way to New Zealand. Immigration NZ is at the moment allowing truck drivers up to 3 years temporary work visas.
Call us to talk on our prices.
What if I think the driver is not up to the job? Do I get my money back?
Absolutely. 30 days guarantee. We stand behind our recruiting standards. We are so sure of what we do and how we do it that if you are not happy with the driver we will refund your money 100% during the first month of job of the driver.
Who is your recruiter?
My name is Silvia, I am a 44 year old truck driver from Barcelona. I worked 4 years as a long haul truck driver all around Europe. I used to drive a semitrailer reefer (semitrailers are the king of the road in Europe as the places are too narrow for turning with longer units). I had exposure to all kinds of roads and all types of European drivers. I drove in UK many times too. I met many Latin American drivers in Spain as the Spanish firms are used to sponsor them, specially Colombians.
Then I came to New Zealand in 2014 and I have driven many types of trucks in the North and South Island, specially tankers. I currently work as an LPG tanker driver in Taranaki.
When you send your profile to a recruiter he/she just tries to find a match based on specific words found in CVs and might interview the candidate based on questions you provided. But the recruiter has no knowledge of the industry abroad or in NZ.
I do. When I interview I know what to ask. I know what the right answers are. Or if they are exaggerating or pretending because I have done milk and oil tankers, reefers, nigh shift, double-driver tandem driving, live loads, couriers, curtain-siders, rural and flat decks. I know Europe very well and I have a very good understanding of the topography and roads in Latin America, as I have many information provided from the drivers I know. And of New Zealand.
I can tell a good driver from a bad driver. I know about attitudes and safety based mindset when I listen to drivers talk about their job. I know what kind of truckie New Zealand needs and the kind of professional I want to meet on the road when after a corner I find there is between us a 2 lane bridge that is too narrow for 2 wide vehicles. Because I bet my life on it.
How much do I have to pay to the driver?
Our promise to the driver is that he will not get paid under 25,75 dollars an hour. The reasons are:
1) We do not want to be the provider of highly qualified cheap labour, it is not good for the NZ job market and not good for our drivers.
2) With an Essential Skills work visa a worker under 25,50 dollars an hour cannot sponsor their family in a profitable way: the partner will come only with a visitor visa unable to work and the child/children will go to school paying 500-1000 dollars a month. It is clearly not a good deal.
With over 25,50 dollars an hour a holder of an Essential skills work visa can bring the partner with a visa that allows her to work and the child/children go to public schools with the same rights as the locals, very cheap. This is a good deal.
3) They are highly qualified and they are worth more than that. Mature and experienced drivers can train your recruits so that you can have top skills passed into the young kiwis. When their visa is finished, they go home but their skills stay in your company.
Any other question? Just ask