“Hospitals are overrun and nurses are in short supply, but somehow the Government believes ‘multimedia specialists’ deserve precedence for fast tracked residency,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“I asked the Immigration Minister in Parliament what the rationale for this is, he said he had made the immigration system “smarter and faster” and cited the Green List as a huge improvement.

“This is the same Green List that lists ‘multimedia specialists’ as deserving a fast track to residency but makes sorely needed nurses wait two years. And the same immigration system that failed to clear its visa processing backlog despite having two years of closed borders and is constantly pushing out processing wait times.

“The Government turned off the immigration tap during COVID, having a devastating impact on many industries and our productivity as a nation. Now we should be opening our borders and welcoming the world back, but they’re only allowing a trickle of immigration.

“Businesses are hurting and our hospitals are struggling under the weight of workforce shortages, but the Minister perseveres with his anti-immigration agenda.

“We desperately need nurses to keep our hospitals going, particularly when a worse-than-normal influenza season, measles outbreak, and the COVID-19 pandemic are creating a perfect storm that could cripple the health system.

“Immigration policy should be simple to navigate and welcoming so that the New Zealand economy can grow and more locals can be employed through job creation and investment. The Government has had more than two years of effectively zero immigration, yet the problems and backlogs persist.

“The Minister needs to urgently change the settings and allow us to start welcoming in skilled migrants who will have a positive impact on New Zealanders’ lives.”