Border exception criteria loosened for skilled workers wanting to come to NZ

Employers wanting to bring in skilled workers from overseas will have more people to choose from after the Government loosened the criteria today.

Kris Faafoi Source: 1 NEWS

Today, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced changes to its immigration instructions for employers wanting to request a border exception for their workers under the "other critical worker" category.

Previously a person had to have experience and technical or specialist skills that were "not obtainable" in New Zealand in order to get through. 

But the criteria wording has now been changed to not "readily obtainable" in New Zealand.

“That wording change reflects that, in some fields, there is a very limited pool of experts and significant training would have to be undertaken before the skills were obtainable in New Zealand.

The Government will also remove from the requirement the criteria of skills, qualifications or work experience to have been gained overseas.

"Removing that requirement will allow entry, in some limited cases, where, for example, a worker has skills which are obtainable in New Zealand but they have unique experience gained overseas which would bring unique expertise to New Zealand businesses," says Faafoi.

“These changes are in response to concerns various sectors have been raising with us and aim to help provide clarity for businesses requesting a border exception for critical workers."

But, he says the bar for being granted an exception still remains high and there will still be a number of workers who do not meet the criteria.

"That is because any changes must still align with New Zealand’s tight Covid-19 border controls to limit the spread of the virus. We also need to continue coordinating the numbers of people coming across the border with amount of capacity available in managed isolation and quarantine facilities to cope."

The changes take effect immediately.