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How Is the Government Supporting the Future of the Healthcare System in NZ?

With the demand for healthcare workers, learn how NZ Government’s changes to the healthcare system are supporting migrant workers into employment in New Zealand
December 1, 2022
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5
 min read

In July 2022, the Government rolled out a new NZ healthcare system. The reform focuses on amalgamating the 20 DHBs and 30 PHOs into one Health NZ to centralise the day-to-day running of healthcare around the country.  

Along with an increase in the health budget for the next year, the Government is setting down changes to give the future of the system more continuity. Budgets will now be set for a three-year period rather than on an adjusted year-on-year basis. 

With 1 million people estimated to be over 65 by 2028, the Government is planning for a future with the increasing level of our ageing population.

What Are the Main Issues Affecting Our Healthcare System?

The New Zealand Health workforce faces many new challenges, from an aging population to skill shortages. With an aging population, an increase in care from health professionals is also expected. Older people are also more likely to have a disability and have more than one health condition. 

Professionals Nearing Retirement 

Our health professionals are also aging, with 40% of doctors and 45% of nurses over 50. 

General practitioners, for example, are estimated to see their workforce reduced by fifty per cent in the next ten years due to retirement. One in five nurses is also looking to retire in years. The lack of new graduates in this area is pushing New Zealand to look to international shores to fulfil their healthcare needs.

We rely heavily on a migrant workforce to support our healthcare system. Currently, 42% of our doctors, 32% of our midwives and 26% of our nurses are migrant workers. However, to ensure the health and expectations of caring for New Zealanders are met with the support of migrants, New Zealand needs to invest in training continually.

Skill Shortages

Generally, there has been a labour shortage in New Zealand for quite some time. This is because the healthcare workforce in New Zealand, prior to 2020, had been topped up with migrant workers entering on visas such as the skilled migrant visa NZ. However, due to the increased workload and pressure on healthcare workers over the pandemic, this problem has compounded for the New Zealand health system. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government brought in 5700 critical healthcare workers despite global borders being closed.

Immigration NZ introduced the Green List to prioritise Medical professionals like nurses and doctors to grow the workforce alongside local graduates. However, this is not a quick road to recovery for our healthcare system. 

What is the Government Implementing to Help Overcome These Issues?

There are several ways that the Government aims to improve the healthcare system and support New Zealand's growing and aging population.

All of the health reform changes are designed to reduce the pressure on specialist and hospital care.

Preventative Care

Healthcare reform is shifting its approach to prioritise preventative care. For example, ensuring our population has access to their GPs and healthcare to treat ailments before they become larger issues. 

"A shift to focussing on better, earlier care at GPs and local health centres will ensure New Zealand's health system can provide quality care, at the right time, and in the right place, while taking pressure off our hospitals," Andrew Little said.

Less Administration & More Care

The Government has designed a new health system to enable a holistic approach to planning and delivering services by condensing all DHBs and PHOs into one system, Health NZ. This should provide consistency and efficiency across the country. 

Technological Upgrades

Upgrading the national system backed with modern technology and more secure IT platforms aims to allow medical professionals to access all of a patient's medical information and streamline treatment and administration.

A High-Quality Workforce

The Government has increased the budget for 3000 nurses and an additional 1000 healthcare places over a period of four years. They are also investing NZ$76 million to develop a primary healthcare workforce, including 1,500 training places for nursing, physiotherapy and pharmacy. 

What Does This Mean for Overseas Healthcare Workers?

The Government is rebalancing New Zealand's immigration system by implementing a shift in the future migrant workforce to increase New Zealand's productivity and rebalance the skills gap to support our country's growth. The rebalance ensures New Zealand is an attractive destination for highly skilled workers in global shortage.

With record lows in NZ employment, overseas workers are in high demand by the NZ Healthcare system. The introduction of the Green list has opened up a list of highly skilled roles which can be pathways to residence for migrant workers.

How the Visa Changes Will Affect Healthcare Roles

There are currently over 40 healthcare roles on the Government's Green List of priority visa applications that will either grant the migrants a fast track to residency or allow for a work to residence.

Fast-Tracked Pathways to Work & NZ Residency

  • The "fast-tracked - straight to residence" provides residency for highly-skilled people in global-demand professions. These are assessed before arriving in New Zealand after securing a relevant job offer. This path relates to the Green List occupations and opened for applications on 5 September 2022.
  • The Work to residence visa nz gives residency to people from certain professions on the Green List who work in New Zealand for two years. This path also relates to the Green List occupations and requires people to have worked for 24 months and opened for applications on 29 September 2022.
  • The "Highly paid - twice the median wage" was recently announced and will provide residency for people under 55 who have worked for two years or more in New Zealand, earning 2x the median wage. This resident visa is for people who have worked for 24 months earning twice the median wage and opens for applications on 29 September 2022.

The Work to residence visa nz and "Highly paid" pathways require workers to be on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV NZ), which is a visa offering NZ working rights for a select few if migrants meet a certain threshold. For more advice on securing your right to work in New Zealand, Malcolm Pacific can help answer questions and support you with your application.

How NZ Is Supporting Migrant Health Workers

NZ is providing support to recognise migrant health workers’ qualifications. By financially supporting doctors and other healthcare workers within their formative first months in New Zealand, the Government is hoping to attract more migrants. 

New Opportunites for Migrants to Get Their Healthcare Qualifications Recognised

To ensure that health professionals can get their qualifications recognised in New Zealand, they have introduced several opportunities:

  • For Nurses, there is up to NZ$10,000 worth of funding available to complete competence assessment programmes necessary to register in New Zealand.
  • For Doctors, there is a 6-month bridging programme, including paying their salary for their six-week clinical induction course and three-month training internship. 

Get Licensed Immigration Advice Today

Whether you're considering applying for a work-to-residence visa nz, planning a new way of life in New Zealand or becoming part of our healthcare system, Malcolm Pacific Immigration can help. Our licensed advisers assist you in understanding the visa process and take the stress away to let you focus on your business. We have an employer services team on standby and ready to help. 

Get in touch with us today!

Get started with a FREE consultation today

Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.

Get started with a FREE consultation today

Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.

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Update

Migrant Worker Residence

Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrants Opportunity

Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.

January 9, 2023
Update

New Employer Accreditation Process

The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 19 July 2021

  • The median wage used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications increases from $25.50 per hour to $27 per hour.
  • Applicants paid below the median wage may be granted a work visa for up to 24 months. The usual 6-month visa validity restriction is suspended until mid-2022.
  • In certain cases, the labour market test is waived and in some cases, it will still apply.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 30 June 2021

  • Employer Accreditation and Approval in Principle applications are now closed.
  • No new Employer Accreditation applications (including renewals) will be accepted until the new process goes live in mid-2022.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Employer Accreditation Becomes Mandatory

Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From mid-2020 (delayed)

  • Government to negotiate and introduce Industry Sector agreements setting minimum conditions for industries that heavily rely on overseas workers. Sectors include; residential care, meat processing, dairy, forestry, road freight transport, tourism, and hospitality. Construction, horticulture, and viticulture may also be included.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 15 February 2021

  • Dairy Cattle Farmer job offers are now assessed by three new occupation descriptions: Dairy Farm Manager, Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager. Pay rates and job tasks will determine how long a work visa is valid. Take advice.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 7 October 2020

  • Introduction of "Oversupply" and "Undersupply" occupation lists used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications when a job offer pays less than the median wage.
  • Employers offering jobs to migrant workers where an occupation is on the "Oversupply" list will not get Skill Match reports issued by Work & Income. Solid evidence of genuine attempts to find a local to fill the job will be critical for approval.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government added four new occupations that are now regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. These are:

Aged or disabled carer, Bicycle mechanic, Driller and Nursing Support worker.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 27 July 2020

  • Essential Skills work visa applications are now assessed based on the current median wage (NZD $25.50 or more per hour.).
  • Job offers paying below the median wage require employers to pass the labour market test* and secure a Skills Match Reports from WINZ (work visas granted for a maximum of 6 months).

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 27 May 2020​

  • Regional Skill Shortage List goes live. 15 regions around New Zealand list occupations reflecting local skill shortages in each region. The labour market test is not mandatory provided the job offer matches the occupation and region plus the visa applicant has qualifications and/or work experience set out on the list.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:

  • Has employment paying double the median wage which is currently NZD $51 per hour OR NZD $106,800 per annum; OR Has New Zealand occupational registration and is required to hold valid registration to lawfully carry out their job.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 24 February 2020

  • Wage or salary thresholds increase for Essential Skills Work Visas applications lodged on or after 24/02/2020 (labour market tested; read more here).
  • Higher Skilled employment increases to $38.25 or more per hour ($79,560 per annum*)
  • Mid Skilled Employment increases to $21.68 or more per hour ($45,094 per annum*)

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 7 October 2019

  • Base salary to qualify for a Work to Residence Visa (WTR) supported by an accredited employer increases from $55,000 per annum to $79,560 per annum (or $38.25 per hour).
  • Pay rates for WTR visas are now reviewed annually.
  • Work visa applicants paid less than $79,560 per annum by accredited employers need to apply under other work visa categories.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 1 November 2021

  • Work to Residence Visa (Accredited Employer and Long Term Skill Shortage) applications close.
  • Applications lodged on or before 31 October 2021 will be processed under current visa settings.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Mandatory Vaccination Required for Travel

From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.

January 9, 2023
Update

Employer Accreditation

Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:

  • Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

Is this the only requirement to qualify for residence? No. In addition to the eligible work visa criteria workers also need to be regarded as one of the following:

  1. Settled.
  2. Skilled.
  3. Scarce.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet the visa eligibility criteria:

  • Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Critical Purpose Visitor Visas

A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • July 4. Applications open for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.
  • July 31. Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa close.
  • August. Skilled Migrant Residence category scheduled to reopen.
  • August. A new pathway to residence for people earning 200% or more of the median wage.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

January 9, 2023
Update

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
  • April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
  • April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
  • May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Categories Closing

The work visa categories set to close are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
January 9, 2023
Update

The Green List

From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.

There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
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