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National seizing immigration opportunities - Erica Stanford

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Opening up to the world doesn’t just give Kiwis the opportunity to come home, but it also gives New Zealand opportunities to attract talent from overseas, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

"As other countries gradually recover from the effects of Covid-19, a global bidding war for talent has emerged. Almost every advanced economy other than New Zealand has begun deploying aggressive tactics to attract skilled workers.

"Before New Zealand can do the same thing we must fix our broken immigration system.

"We currently have huge delays in processing visas resulting in a years-long backlog of residency applications, and a frozen residency pool is leaving many of our critical workers stuck in immigration limbo. They can’t access KiwiSaver or buy a house, they’re fed up and choosing to leave. It’s clear we’re in a crisis.

"Unlike the Government, National is planning for the future. Immigration will be critical to help resource our health system to deal with any future Covid-19 cases and help our economy bounce back from the effects of the pandemic."

To resource our health system National would:

- Instruct immigration officials to urgently reopen the frozen Skilled Migrant Category visa expressions of interest pool and prioritise processing residence applications for critical healthcare workers

- Offer residence class visas on arrival to specialist nurses with the qualifications, skills and experience to allow them to immediately start working in New Zealand

To help our economy bounce back National would:

- Create a pathway to residence for those migrants who have stuck with us through the Covid-19 pandemic

- Reopen the expressions of interest pool and process these applications with urgency

- Create a fast-tracked, streamlined process for residence applications to quickly clear the backlog

- Offer conditional residence on arrival for highly-sought skilled workers

- Implement a traffic light model for people arriving from overseas

Ms Stanford says National understands how important it is we rebuild the reputation of our immigration sector.

"With the world competing for global talent to help their fight against Covid-19 and support their economic recovery, we need to make sure we don’t lose our critical workers to other countries, while at the same time focus on attracting the best talent from overseas.

"If we want the best, we need to be the best. Offering a clear pathway to permanent residency will make sure New Zealand remains an attractive destination for skilled migrants to come and work at time when we need them more than ever."

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