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Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway has today set the wheels in motion to reform immigration settings to make it easier for industries like aged care to get the workers they need.

The Government has proposed changes to temporary work visas released for consultation today.

“The Coalition Government is determined to make our Immigration system work better for New Zealand business and regions, so that those areas and sectors experiencing genuine labour shortages can get the support they need.”

The proposals include introducing a new framework for assessing all employer-assisted temporary work visas. The new framework would be employer-led, rather than migrant-led, and will include checks for:

  • Employers – where approval will be granted to an employer to enable them to hire a migrant
  • Jobs – to ensure no New Zealander is able to do the job
  • Migrants – to ensure they meet character and health requirements.

“The new employer checks will help combat migrant exploitation by lifting the requirements on all employers and enabling the Government to put tougher tests in place for higher risk employers and employers looking to hire multiple migrants.

“As part of the job checks, the proposals also include replacing the Essential Skills in Demand Lists with Regional Skills Shortage Lists and introducing sector agreements for sectors which rely heavily on migrant labour.”

One such sector is the aged care sector; a third of the aged care workforce comprises migrant workers. The New Zealand Aged Care Association has been lobbying hard for changes and chief executive Simon Wallace is pleased to see a step in the right direction with today’s announcements.

“The NZACA is pleased that its advocacy work in highlighting the workforce challenges in aged care has been noticed by the Government with the release of these proposals,” says Wallace.

“The Minister has announced these proposals in a timely manner and when he said he would.  It is critical that immigration policy settings meet the needs of the aged care industry and our workforce requirements, while also being less onerous and complex.

“The Association will now be engaging with Mr Lees-Galloway’s officials around the detail and with member input will lodge a submission by the due date of 18 March 2019”.

Consultation runs until 18 March 2019. Details can be found here.

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