Critical healthcare workers must be granted residency as a priority

PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 3 September 2021 -

Critical healthcare workers must be granted residency as a priority

The Immigration Minister must urgently reopen the frozen Skilled Migrant Category visa EOI pool and prioritise processing of residence applications for critical healthcare workers to keep them in New Zealand as we battle the Covid-19 outbreak, says National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford.

“National is also calling on the Government to offer residence class visas on arrival to experienced specialist nurses to attract them to New Zealand to fill critical shortages and boost the resilience of our health sector.

“We have already announced our plan to the clear the current residency backlog and provide a pathway for skilled migrants already in the country to gain residency. However, the outbreak of the Delta variant has shown how desperately we need experienced specialist nurses and doctors here in New Zealand.

“Just two days ago, we saw Auckland hospitals desperately asking for more intensive care nurses to help them cope with the Covid outbreak, while transferring spinal cord patients to free up space in ICU.

“Currently, huge delays in processing visas resulting in a years-long backlog of residency applications, and a frozen residency pool is leaving many of our nurses and doctors stuck in immigration limbo. They can’t access Kiwisaver or buy a house. They’re fed up and they’re now they’re choosing to leave.

“There are currently 2231 nurses and 675 doctors who have been stuck in the frozen pool for up to 18 months while the Minister has sat back and done nothing. We risk losing these valuable workers if the Minister fails to act with urgency.