Thursday 23 December 2021

How can Immigration NZ keep being this bad?

RNZ reports:

Immigration New Zealand has received more than 10,000 applications for the one-off 2021 Resident Visa since it opened on 1 December.

It was set up to streamline the residency process for critical workers already onshore but has left some ICU nurses, already in priority queues, in limbo.

An ICU nurse - RNZ is calling Anna - moved to New Zealand with her partner two years ago with a plan to settle permanently.

She applied for a working residency visa last month and got put on a priority list as an essential worker, but this process has now stalled.

Anna said INZ had emailed to say her application was on hold so immigration officials can work through applications for the 2021 Resident Visa.

She has been told to apply for this newly-introduced visa, but while waiting on her residency application she missed the cut-off for its first phase.

"We don't qualify for that just yet. We will do next year but it's just another application with another set of paperwork and another fee we have to pay them.

"And it's just another wait when we were already on the pathway to residency which I find a bit frustrating," she said.


Anna said, although she would like to stay in New Zealand, her experience with the residency process doesn't make her feel like part of the team of 5 million.

"It's just incredibly frustrating to feel that you're just undervalued. You're needed somewhere else, you know. I could go somewhere else.

"I will try not to because we really love New Zealand but loving New Zealand if New Zealand doesn't love you back doesn't work."

RNZ understands there are 10-15 ICU nurses in Wellington alone in similar situations, and the problem is not isolated to the capital.

College of Critical Care Nurses chair Tania Mitchell said New Zealand was competing with other countries and must cut through bureaucracy and financially incentivise ICU nurses to stay.

The borders have been effectively closed since March 2020. The government failed to find adequate ways for critical medical staff to get through the system and enter. I hate that entry winds up being by government largesse. But priority entry for health workers ultimately helps the system accept more visitors: health system capacity is one of the many binding constraints floating around. 

But these cases don't even require finding an MIQ space. They only need someone at Immigration NZ to pull out the file, blow the dust off it, and stamp it. 

And they aren't managing it.

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