“Minister Michael Wood should be requesting Immigration NZ processes each application for the new ‘Recovery Visa’ within 48 hours, instead of the proposed seven days,” says ACT’s Immigration spokesperson Dr James McDowall.

“Boots are needed on the ground right now, Immigration NZ should be prepared to move heaven and earth to get applications processed and workers into the country as soon as possible.

“The Minister needs to think innovatively, in order to speed up processing, a standard police and character check could be undertaken to validate the visa, but would not need to be completed prior to working. This would allow officials to focus on the task at hand of getting workers into the country.

“Wood has said that Immigration NZ is bringing in private sector contractors to speed up their pathetic processing times. With all the extra resource they should be aiming to turn around Visas in record times.

“The visa also needs to be extended. Six months is nowhere near long enough to attract migrants when there is a global war for talent, and it is not long enough to meet the needs of employers.

“If there is one thing that we have learnt about the Government’s immigration reset, it is that the Wellington bureaucracy is too slow and uninformed to keep up with changing employer demand. This can’t be allowed to be the case anymore.

“The rebuild is going to be huge. The only way it will be successful is if bureaucracy is reduced and focussed on exactly what Kiwis need. Getting people into the country as quickly and efficiently as possible is essential.”

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James McDowall