Minister must do his part to rebuild our economy

The Immigration Minister needs to get his ministry working faster to process border exceptions for essential workers, National’s Immigration spokesperson Stuart Smith says.

“I have been contacted by numerous businesses that haven’t received a response to their Other Essential Workers border exception requests days after they have been made.

“This simply isn’t good enough when businesses need workers here urgently to get on with the job of rebuilding our economy. They need certainty so they can plan for the future.

“Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has overseen a department that has experienced blowouts in processing times for visas over the 18 months prior to lockdown.

“Economic development clearly isn’t the Government’s strong suit. You only have to look at how long Phil Twyford took to grant border exceptions for America’s Cup teams, which will provide an obvious and major economic boost to New Zealand.

“I’m concerned that the Government, which doesn’t understand businesses, isn’t acting with the urgency required to make sure these requests are processed quickly.

“Businesses that need to bring in workers for significant economic activities should be able to do so quickly. Failure to make this happen will have major ramifications for our economy.”