Travel bubble with Aus would help migrant workers

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has failed to act on reuniting highly skilled migrant workers with their families, but if his Government just opened a travel bubble with Australia then the issue could be resolved, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“New Zealand risks eroding our critical migrant workforce – our medical specialists, mathematics teachers, engineers and tech experts – because those workers have no hope on the horizon of reunification with their families.

“Despite countless heart-breaking stories of workers who have been separated from their partners and children, in many cases for more than a year, Minister Faafoi has ignored this problem for eight months.

“So the National Party has found a solution for him. A travel bubble with Australia would see MIQ spots freed up so these critical workers can be reunited with their families.

“Migrant nurses are one example of those workers who arrived in New Zealand before the borders closed and have been kept apart from their children, even though nurses who arrive now can bring their families here.

“The only option for these nurses caught by this anomaly is to leave, at a time when our nurse workforce is critically short-staffed and we are about to undertake the biggest vaccination programme in living memory.

“At the moment 40 per cent of MIQ spots are being used by New Zealanders coming from Australia. Freeing up those beds in MIQ would mean the Minister could allow these migrant families to be reunited over a manageable period of time.

“The Government just needs to get on with it and make the trans-Tasman bubble happen immediately.”