PRESS RELEASE | Erica Stanford MP | 2 February 2022 -
Ministry resorts to emergency MIQ to get teachers in
The Ministry of Education must now resort to applying for emergency MIQ spots meant for offshore Kiwis to get teachers into the country in time for term one after Chris Hipkins failed to allocate any rooms for them, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
“As teacher shortages continue to mount, National has repeatedly called for Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins to allocate dedicated MIQ spots for the teachers that he announced would be able to enter the country last July.
“Since that announcement, the Minister has sat back and done nothing. Now the situation is so desperate that the Ministry of Education is lodging its own emergency allocation requests for MIQ spots to get teachers here on time, taking those spots away from desperate Kiwis trying to get home.
“What’s so utterly ridiculous is that 430 out of 800 rooms allocated for time-sensitive travel up to the end of February will sit empty because of Government bureaucracy gone mad.
“The Government requires time-sensitive MIQ applications to be in before a set date, but teachers are missing these dates while waiting for their visas to be processed. The next batch of time-sensitive MIQ rooms to be allocated will be for travel between 1 May and 30 June, meaning teachers will miss term one and part of term two.
“If the Government had any common sense, they would have removed this date requirement in the latest round of room offerings and filled the 430 unallocated MIQ rooms with the 300 school teachers who should have already been here.
“Schools have told me that classes of up to 28 students won’t have teachers next week. An entirely predictable and avoidable situation caused by the Minister is now hugely disrupting schools and making them scramble to find replacement teachers that simply don’t exist.
“The Minister must urgently rectify this situation and allocate MIQ rooms now for school teachers, so the students he should be supporting as Education Minister don’t fall behind even further.
“Or better yet, end MIQ for fully vaccinated Kiwi citizens and essential workers like teachers.
“Sadly, this is another classic example of Labour making announcements they completely fail to deliver on.”