This morning’s debut of the new ‘virtual lobby’ system for MIQ allocation was both depressing and a debacle, National’s Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“The virtual lobby system used for the first time this morning solves nothing and has just created even more angst amongst the thousands of Kiwis trying to come home.
“What is needed is a prioritisation system based on points, as proposed by the National Party.
“How is it fair that someone sleeping in a car overseas with an expired visa is treated the same as someone who wants to come home to New Zealand for a holiday at Christmas time?
“There are Kiwis stuck offshore who aren’t legally allowed to be in the country they’re currently in, but who can’t get home to New Zealand. This is an awful situation and one entirely of the Government’s own creation.
“There are people trying to move back to New Zealand permanently with skills and experiences gained overseas treated the same as someone who is just coming for a short period.
“New Zealand should welcome back expats who have typically headed off on an Overseas Experience and who have developed their skills and gained valuable offshore experience.
“When we have a health workforce shortage, why do we treat nurses and doctors the same as other occupations when granting space? It doesn’t make sense. We should be rigorously targeting health sector skills.
“Let’s be clear – there are many good reasons for people to want to come to New Zealand through MIQ, but we need to be realistic. Some reasons have more merit than others, but the system treats everyone the same.
“National believes a fairer way to allocate MIQ spots is a priority system based on points, similar to the way in which skilled migrants are assessed for eligibility for entry to New Zealand.
“Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has argued that this would be too complex but it doesn’t have to be, he should task his officials with getting on with it and implement it for the next round of MIQ room bookings.”