PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 11 October 2021 -
Hipkins’ half-hearted attempt to secure MIQ spots for healthcare workers too long overdue
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins’ announcement last Thursday that he was looking to allocate MIQ spots for critical health workers is months too late and highlights the Government’s failure to prepare for the Delta outbreak, says National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford.
“The Government has had 18 months to prepare our health system for Covid outbreaks, yet only now is Minister Hipkins starting to think about setting aside MIQ spots for critical health workers who have been locked out of the country.
“We know there are hundreds of critical health workers stuck offshore who should be here already supporting our Covid response. It is utter madness that, in a global pandemic and with a worldwide shortage of nurses, they weren’t given priority for MIQ spots.
“Now we are losing them to other countries competing with us before they have even set foot in New Zealand. This is on top of the doctors and nurses that left our shores to go elsewhere who were fed up at being stuck in immigration limbo and not having a pathway to residency.
“Of the nurses who do manage to find a spot in MIQ, 70 per cent are required to complete a 10-week Competence Assessment Programme to become registered, which further delays the time they can start working.