New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 30 September 2021
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) welcomes Immigration Minister Hon Kris Faafoi’s one-off residence pathway for working migrants currently living in Aotearoa New Zealand announced today.
An estimated 5000 of these are health and aged care workers, and NZNO Industrial Services Manager Glenda Alexander says this will be good news for them and a step towards retaining our current nursing workforce.
“Many internationally qualified members of NZNO are frustrated with current immigration settings and some are leaving or have left Aotearoa New Zealand as a result.
“Removing uncertainty and providing a clear pathway to permanent residence will help address this exodus at a time when we are facing a crucial shortage of nursing professionals.”
Ms Alexander wrote to Hon Kris Faafoi on behalf of NZNO earlier this month on the very issue of permanent resident status for internationally qualified health care workers. She says that while the announced pathway addresses many of the concerns NZNO raised, more needs to be done about reuniting these workers already here with their families and loved ones still overseas.
“We are pleased that partners and dependents can also be included in applications for permanent residence if they are already living here.
“What we’d like to see is pathways opened up into the country for more internationally qualified nursing staff who want to live here permanently and for the same opportunity to be extended to their families.
“We are critically short of nurses at a time when we need them most, and it is unfair and counter-productive that they be required to work here while isolated and without support from close family.”
However, Ms Alexander said that while immigration was an important short-term solution to having a sustainable nursing workforce here, she agreed with Hon Kris Faafoi that employers must also find ways to build their workforces by attracting and retaining local workers.
“We need to contribute to nursing on a global scale by also encouraging New Zealanders into the nursing workforce. There is a lack of nurses in almost every country so taking health professionals away from other places where they are needed is not a workable solution long-term.
“We look forward to working with Government and employers on large scale nursing recruitment, and on making the nursing profession a more attractive career option in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.