“The whole world is experiencing labour shortages right now. Since our borders reopened, the Government has taken a number of steps to support businesses to recruit internationally to fill these shortages,” Michael Wood.
“We have approved over 94,000 job positions for international recruitment, granted over 40,000 working holiday visas, reopened the Pacific Access Category and Samoa Quota, delivered the largest increase in a decade to the RSE scheme, and resumed the Skilled Migrant Category and Parent Category so as to strengthen our international offering – but there is more we can do to support businesses to attract the workers they need.
“New Zealand’s strong economic position during a time of global downturn presents a unique opportunity to attract more high skilled migrant workers to our shores, as we prepare for a challenging year ahead.
“We understand that labour shortages are the biggest issue facing New Zealand businesses, and are contributing to cost of living pressures too. These measures are about addressing those shortages and providing greater certainty to businesses as they recover from the pandemic.
“As part of our signalled review, we are expanding the Green List settings to include more professions in our healthcare, education, and construction sectors, to give a competitive edge in a highly competitive global environment.
· Nurses, specialist doctors and midwives will have immediate access to the straight-to-residence pathway
· All teachers added to the work to residence pathway, along with drain layers, motor mechanics and other roles
· 10 additional professions added to Green list, including roles across healthcare, education, construction sectors
· New temporary residence pathway for bus and truck drivers through a new sector agreement to help employers attract workers
· Reissuing visas for Post Study Work Visa holders locked out by COVID
· Streamlined Specific Purpose work visa for long-term critical workers
“While some commentators are suggesting that our labour market is starting to lose some of its heat, we are continuing to pull out all the stops to position ourselves ahead of the pack. We are supporting those businesses and sectors feeling these shortages more acutely, like our healthcare workforce, with a mind to preparing for the year ahead.
“From Thursday registered nurses and midwives will have an immediate pathway to residence, including those already in New Zealand.
“Since the pandemic, 3,474 nurses have arrived in the country, but it’s clear we need to do more to encourage nurses to choose New Zealand. Adding these roles will further build on the attractiveness of New Zealand to those looking to set themselves and their families up long term.
“From March, the work to residence pathway will be further expanded to include all teachers and will add in additional roles such as drain layers, motor mechanics skilled civil machine operators.
“All applicants will be able to count time on a work visa from 29 September 2021, towards their work to residence requirement.
“Our sector agreements are in place across the construction, seafood, aged care, meat processing, seasonal snow, and adventure tourism sectors. Today we have agreed to extend the scheme to bus and truck drivers with a time limited, two year residence pathway. The agreement will support our work underway to improve better wages and conditions for bus drivers and local workforce development. This will help relieve the national driver shortage, helping Kiwis and goods get to where they need to go,” Michael Wood said.