The Labour Government’s highly touted Accredited Employer Work Visa has had a disastrous start with only one application processed in the four weeks since it opened, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
“This visa is the centrepiece of Labour’s immigration ‘rebalance’, but processing times are already languishing behind the targets set by the Immigration Minister.
“Before a migrant can apply for a visa, an employer must first submit a job check to show that domestic recruitment was unsuccessful. Since applications opened six weeks ago, just 817 out of 3,321 job checks have been approved.
“Even worse, just 20 per cent of the approved applications were completed within the 10-day timeframe promised by the Minister.
“Immigration New Zealand expected to receive an average of 3,500 Work Visa applications each month. However, the job check log jam resulted in only 169 applications submitted within the first month, and only one was approved.
“These massive delays in processing job checks mean that employers are unable to hire the skilled migrants they desperately need and are turning down work, or shutting down operations, while they wait.
"Once again, the Government has failed to deliver on its promises, causing devastating bottlenecks in the economy.
"So far, job check application volumes have been around 30 per cent lower than expected, but Immigration New Zealand still can't keep up.
"Even hospitals and aged-care facilities that are critically short of staff are forced to wait while their job check is processed.
“The Government had two years of closed borders to prepare and ensure it could hit the ground running. Instead, processing delays mean that 2022 will be a complete write-off for many businesses desperately needing workers.”
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