Just a few days ago, RNZ was reporting about frustrated New Zealand-trained migrant nurses planning to leave the country because they cannot find an immediate path to residency, just as the government was trying to entice foreigners to fill thousands of jobs in hospitals, aged care homes and clinics.
The report reminded us that nurses had been excluded from the government’s new straight-to-residence Green List. They must work in the profession for two years first.
Sandeep Kaur told RNZ she had spent years separated from her two young sons in India while studying for a nursing degree in New Zealand.
She said she was devastated the profession was excluded from super-fast residency visas under the new immigration Green List, months after her graduation late last year.
She and her husband were preparing to move to Australia where she could gain residency quickly and reunite her family.
Figures released to the National Party at that time showed just 18 migrant nurses applied to come to New Zealand in the first six weeks of the new residency visa, compared to a monthly average of 57 under the previous critical purpose visa.
Point of Order accordingly looked for a mention of nurses in the press statement released today by Immigration Minister Michael Wood. We didn’t find it, although it did mention “health practitioners”.
More critically, Wood said
The Government is delivering on its promise of a responsive and streamlined immigration system to help relieve workforce shortages while providing meaningful humanitarian support.
Yep. He is chuffed about delivering the “streamlined” system that has failed to attract nurses.
Wood’s statement is recorded on The Beehive website along with one speech and two other statements since our last Buzz report.
The portfolios embraced by the latest posts on the website are –
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash delivered a speech in which he expressed thanks to the Go with Tourism team for welcoming him to their office.
He said his vision is for New Zealand to be one of the top three aspirational destinations for the world’s most discerning travellers.
He reiterated his emphasis on welcoming “high-quality visitors who give back more than they take”, describing high-quality visitors as people who come to New Zealand to do more than just spend money – they visit our far-flung, less explored regions. They stay longer and engage with and embrace our unique culture.
He also said it was
“… vital that we transition the tourism industry to a regenerative model – where tourism is giving back more than it takes from people, communities, and the environment”.
Transitioning to a regenerative model (he said) would take time,
Stuart Nash is not alone in thinking about the need for regeneration. Something similar popped into Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s considerations, according to the announcement he made on Friday about the Government backing a new $26.1 million programme to undertake the most comprehensive study of pastoral farming in New Zealand.
The programme – which Point of Order examined in a post you can read HERE – is being led by Massey University’s School of Agriculture and Environment to enable farmers to make informed decisions on the financial and environmental benefits of adopting regenerative farming practices.
The Government is committing $17.6 million over seven years through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) to fund this partnership.
- Pacific Peoples
The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, issued a statement to urge Tongans everywhere to embrace Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e lea faka-Tonga – Tonga Language Week 2022, to help stop the decline in its use by the New Zealand born Tongan population.
According to the 2018 Census, New Zealand had a Tongan population of 82,389 that year, but only 12 percent of Tongans under 15 spoke the language in New Zealand – a decline of nine percent since 2006.
In his statement, Immigration Minister Michael Wood announced that:
- Applications for the Green List Straight to Residence pathway open today;
- The streamlined pathway will help address shortages in highly skilled areas;
- This year’s Refugee quota includes increases in places allocated to the Middle East and Africa international allocations, and emergency/urgent resettlement places;
- The number of places specifically set aside for Afghan refugees has been brought forward with 200 places are being allocated in 2022/23.
From today, therefore, eligible skilled migrants with a job or a job offer in specific roles on the Straight to Residence pathway will be able to apply for residence, both from on shore and overseas.
“The Straight to Residence pathway provides an incentive for migrants who have skills in hard-to-fill, nationally significant roles that New Zealand needs to speed up our economic growth,” Michael Wood said.
“This new pathway offers potential migrants, like health practitioners, engineers, construction and infrastructure workers, and IT professionals more certainty. The streamlined process makes it easier for employers to attract and hire people that will help address shortages in these highly skilled areas.
“This is one of three new residence pathways introduced as part of the Government’s immigration rebalance. Skilled migrants on the ‘Work to Residence’ and ‘Highly Paid’ resident pathways will be able to apply from 29 September 2023, once they have obtained 24 months of acceptable work in New Zealand,” Michael Wood said.
But the statement contained nothing that we can see to mollify the nurses who are headed for greener pastures.
Under the new Green List for skilled immigrants, announced early this year, the fast-tracked residency pathway allowed those in certain skilled occupations to come to the country on a work visa from July 4 and apply for residency from September.
A Work to Residency Pathway allowed other occupations to apply for residency but only after working in the country for two years first.
According Newshub two months ago:
Nursing shortages were of particular concern after they were excluded from the same residency rules as GPs in the Government’s immigration reset.
Our ever-caring Prime Minister, defending the Government’s residency rules for nurses, mused that if the barrier is too high “perhaps they don’t want to be a nurse in New Zealand”.
Another possibility, of course, is that the Government has misread the needs of the health sector and has not tailored its immigration rules to do what must be done.
Latest from the Beehive
5 SEPTEMBER 2022
The Government is delivering on its promise of a responsive and streamlined immigration system to help relieve workforce shortages while providing meaningful humanitarian support, Immigration Minister Michael Wood has announced.
Thank you to the Go with Tourism team for welcoming me to their office today.
4 SEPTEMBER 2022
Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio is urging Tongans everywhere to embrace Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e lea faka-Tonga – Tonga Language Week 2022, to help stop the decline in its use by the New Zealand born Tongan population.
2 SEPTEMBER 2022
New Zealand’s largest ever study on the sustainability of our farming sector aims to prove to the world why New Zealand food and fibre should be always the number one choice.