The disconnect between the Government’s immigration policy and what is actually happening on the ground in aged care and other sectors is frustrating, the NZ Aged Care Association says.
NZACA chief executive Simon Wallace says, “The aged residential care sector is in crisis, there is no other word for it.
“Over 20 carehomes have closed permanently this year, over 1200 care beds have closed because of staff shortages and there are more than 1200 vacancies for registered nurses.
“Meanwhile, the Minister of Immigration is refusing to allow internationally qualified nurses apply for New Zealand residency straight away, unlike acoustic engineers and chief information officers.
“We want these nurses to be given residency from day one, and to be bonded to an aged care employer for two years in order to provide continuity of care for residents.
“There are nowhere near enough nurses to care for older New Zealanders – and the nurses who are trying to cover all these vacancies are burning out and leaving the profession.
“Immigration settings must ensure the sector’s access to internationally qualified nurses is not hindered.
“We urge the Government to urgently review the immigration green list now, not in May next year as planned,” Wallace says.
The NZACA has recently made a submission to the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment on the Future of the Skilled Migrant Category. The submission can be viewed here (pdf).