Opinion: The Government’s great immigration reset appears to be an enormous flop.
Anyone who listens to our show regularly will know how hard we’ve been fighting to have nurses added to the residency fast-track Green List, but I’ve got some exclusive numbers out of Immigration NZ which show it’s not just terrible for nurses, but the whole reset looks like a failure.
First let’s look at nurses, on Q and A this weekend Jack Tame asked the PM if she had any plans to add nurses to the fast track list - you know, to try and help address the crippling nursing shortage in New Zealand.
She hasn’t seen any evidence that waiting two years for residency would be a deterrent.
She hasn’t seen any evidence.
What might that evidence look like for example? I suppose the most telling thing would be how many nurses have applied for the green list. Showing whether they think NZ is an attractive proposition compared to other countries.
Given the Prime Minister hasn’t seen evidence it’s a deterrent she must be right across the application data and it must be looking good.
Ok, so she’s not across the data. It must still be looking good though right - given the Prime Minister said there’s no evidence to suggest the residency wait is a deterrent.
Unfortunately no. It’s not looking good.
In fact, it’s looking terrible. Today FM can reveal that since the visa applications opened almost a month ago just nine nurses have applied.
Only nine nurses want to move to New Zealand.
We have a shortage of 4,000 nurses.
Far from tantalising, our immigration reset and the green list have only piqued the interest of nine nurses from all over the world.
When migrant nurses move to NZ they have to spend about 10k doing a competency test.
It sounds like the Government might at least drop or subsidise the cost of that. That's a good thing.
She thinks it might be a bigger factor. Based on anecdata. Sure it’s a problem and great if they scrap the Competency Assessment Programme costs, but we’ve also got loads of anecdata that nurses are put off by the residency wait. We’ve been interviewing them. That’s what they’ve been telling us. Anecdata.
Anyway, shall we return to the actual data?
What about the broader immigration reset? The 85 most sought-after occupations added to the green list to fill the gaps in our dire workforce shortages.
How many surgeons, engineers, scientists, ICT specialists etc etc etc are flocking to be here?
So far just 166 people have applied. 166.
Had New Zealand properly marketed itself and properly pitched this visa, the first month should have gone gangbusters. Surely people from all over the world would want to flock here?
Cause we’re the greatest right? Well, maybe not so hot anymore.
Those 166 applications include all those people who can get residency immediately too. So it’s not just the second-tier guys - like nurses and midwives put off. It’s everyone.
New Zealand just isn’t as attractive anymore. There are workforce shortages everywhere around the world.
We’re competing in a global marketplace for the best and brightest and we’re losing.
The Prime Minister doesn’t even have a clue about the scale of the problem. She’s not even bothered to look at the data.
Well, there you go PM. There are the numbers. 166 skilled migrants want to come here. Nine of them nurses. Slow clap.