Immigration Minister, Michael Wood says a new Recovery Visa announced today will help bring in the additional specialist workers needed to support rebuild efforts in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle and Auckland flooding.
“The Government is moving as quickly as we can to support New Zealanders and businesses to bring in the workers needed to recover from Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland floods,” Minister Wood said.
“The Recovery Visa means overseas specialists needed to support the recovery efforts can come here immediately.
“In the short term we are likely to need experts such as insurance assessors, infrastructure and utilities engineers and technicians, heavy machinery operators and debris removal workers to support the experts we’ve already got in country.”
He said the visa covers the mix of workers needed for clean-up and recovery, including construction workers.
Applications will open today and the visa will last for up to six months.
The fee will be refunded for successful applicants, making it free for those who come here.
“Recovery Visa applications will be prioritised by Immigration New Zealand, with the aim of processing an application within a week of receiving it,” said Mr Wood.
“Similar visa pathways were used for the responses to the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes. However, today’s announcement will not change global workforce shortages that are still at play. We need to accept the visa may not see the same level of uptake of those in the past – but we understand how important it is to do all we can to relieve pressure on business.
“As we gain a greater understanding of the scope and specialist skills required for the recovery, we will look to introduce further initiatives to support access to additional offshore labour.”
Alongside the introduction of the Recovery Visa, the Government is providing additional support to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to speed up visa processing.
“The Public Service Commission is working with Immigration New Zealand to bring in additional medical assessors and identity specialists as additional resource from across the private and public sector to support overall visa processing timeframes,” Mr Wood said.
“These skills will be made available to Immigration as they are freed up elsewhere. It’s important however to stress they will not be pulled from the immediate Cyclone response.”
More information can be found at https://www.immigration.govt.nz/recovery-visa.