Migrants offshore are now able to apply for the new accredited employer work visa, Immigration Minister Michael Wood announced on Monday.
The final stage of the accredited employer policy opened on Monday, allowing migrants offshore to apply for a work visa to come and work in Aotearoa.
“We know a major constraint on business currently is access to skilled labour. This is happening the world over, but the Accredited Employer Work Visa will play a role in increasing the available pool of labour to fill skilled work shortages.
“The opening of this visa follows on our previous work which has seen approvals granted for over 33,000 critical workers, 13,000 working holidaymakers, and 60,000 migrants approved for residency through the one off 2021 Resident Visa,” Wood said.
As part of the policy, employers need to be accredited and have completed a job check before they are able to hire migrants.
So far, 5666 applications have been received and of those, 4322 have been approved.
Partners and dependants of work visa applicants are also able to apply for visas from Monday.
Wood says reconnecting New Zealand to the rest of the world isn’t just about the economy, it’s about reconnecting families.
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“Opening visa applications for partners and dependants of workers who are applying for work visas will make it easier for migrant workers to bring their families with them to New Zealand, making us an attractive place to live and work,” he said.
Borders will be fully open at the end of July, with student and visitor visa applications opening from July 31.
Wood said Immigration New Zealand has also been preparing by recruiting and training more staff to meet demand, bringing on-board 230 immigration officers in the past year.
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Wood also said that from July, the number of places available under the Refugee Family Support Category (RFSC) increased from 300 to 600 each year.
“We have also removed the fees associated with the RFSC, including the sponsorship registration fee, the application fee, and the immigration levy.”
ACT’s small business spokesperson Chris Baillie criticised the Government on Monday around chronic workforce shortages.
“The actual reasons businesses are struggling so much to find staff are over the top isolation periods and an inability to bring in overseas workers amid visa processing times that have blown out by months,” Baillie said.