Labour promise to set aside 10 per cent of managed isolation spots for critical overseas workers

Labour is promising to set aside 10 per cent of managed isolation and quarantine facilities for international arrivals with "unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand", should it be re-elected. 

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The policy would allow about 14,000 people in a month. Source: 1 NEWS

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said her party would "continue to operate strict border controls to protect New Zealanders’ health, but we know we also have to manage New Zealand’s economic need for skilled workers to help the country’s recovery". 

"We’re doing this so that we don’t hold back economic opportunities in our recovery."

Immigration spokesperson Kris Faafoi said they would work with business, industry and the primary sector to "to identify where there is genuine and justified need for critical and skilled workers, and adjust the border exception settings to ensure their entry path is streamlined and remains safe". 

There is capacity for 14,000 people to go through managed isolation per month. 

The party promised to review immigration criteria so a "broader" range of workers enter the country. 

"There is currently a high bar for exceptions for critical workers to come into the country," the policy document stated. 

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With the number of returnees slowing, Jacinda Ardern said today isolation facilities can cope with some workers now being allowed in. Source: 1 NEWS

"We will work with business and sector leaders to help define and prioritise critical workers, with a view to broadening the range of workers who can gain entry to New Zealand, and to provide the clarity and certainty that individuals and businesses need."

National released its border policy last month, promising to "inject some steel" into New Zealand's border defence against Covid-19. 

It included creating an agency to oversee border management and requiring all people returning to New Zealand to test negative before entering the country.

It was revealed last month more than 60 per cent of border staff had not been tested for Covid-19. From this week, all border staff require a test weekly.