New Zealand has added aged care nurses to the country’s long-term skill shortage list. Simon Wallace, CEO of The New Zealand Aged Care Association said it was a positive step towards addressing chronic nursing shortages, allowing rest home providers to more efficiently recruit overseas nurses at a time when they were struggling to retain their nurse workforce.
The Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL) identifies skilled occupations where there is a sustained and ongoing shortage of workers in New Zealand. Those employed in one of those occupations may apply for residence after two years working in a LTSSL occupation.
Wallace said the previous government’s decision to remove aged care nurses from the LTSSL had exacerbated ongoing shortages, removing pathways to residency, leaving overseas nurses uncertain about their future in New Zealand and feeling undervalued, despite their important contribution.
Meanwhile Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said skills shortages lists were now more regionalised, to reflect what skills were needed where, and to show New Zealanders and temporary migrants where there were opportunities are for work in the provinces.
Other changes included adding early childhood, primary and secondary teachers for all regions, and ‘building associate’ added to the construction skills shortage list.