Immigration failure forcing nurses to leave NZ

Yet another immigration train-wreck is seeing nurses forced to leave the country for lengthy periods of time to attempt to secure a visa for their loved ones, at a time when Omicron cases are growing, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“After pressure from National, in early 2021 the Government announced that nurses and other critical healthcare workers separated from their loved ones could apply to have their families join them here in New Zealand.

“But under current settings visas will only be granted if a couple can prove they’ve lived together. Many of our critical healthcare workers have been separated from their loved ones for over two years and are unable to meet this requirement.

“Nurses – some of whom are New Zealand residents - are being forced to move overseas for an extended period of time in order to apply for a visa for their loved ones. This is a farcical case of bureaucracy gone mad, and even more ridiculous given the pressure our health system is currently under.

“Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system and we need them now more than ever. Our workforce is already chronically understaffed and the Government should be bending over backwards to get as many nurses into the country as fast as possible.

“Instead, the Government has been telling the scarce healthcare workers that we do have, that they need to leave New Zealand for an unspecified number of months in order to apply to return to the country together.

“There’s a big difference between making an announcement and actually getting things done – the Government is good at the announcements but yet again they’ve failed to follow through.

“The Immigration Minister needs to apply some common sense and urgently create a border exception to allow couples deemed to be in a genuine and stable relationship, but unable to meet the ‘living together’ requirement, to be issued visas to reunite here in New Zealand.”