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Labour Finally U-turns On Nurses And Midwives

The Government’s major backdown on giving migrant nurses a direct pathway to residence should have happened a year ago, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“Leaving migrant nurses off the Fast Track Straight to Residence Pathway of the Green List was nothing short of madness while New Zealand faced critical staff shortages across the health workforce.

“Not a single health organisation supported the Government’s policy which put New Zealand at a huge disadvantage compared with countries like Australia that offer migrant nurses residence immediately. Health New Zealand even lobbied Labour to streamline residence for nurses.

“Immigration Minister Michael Wood could not produce a shred of evidence to justify leaving nurses off the list.

“Instead of making a simple change that would have delivered more nurses to a critically stretched workforce, the Government arrogantly doubled down on a failed policy that saw even fewer migrant nurses come to New Zealand than when the borders were closed. As a result, Kiwis were missing out on potentially lifesaving treatment.

“National called for nurses to be given a fast track to residence back in September 2021 and called for midwives and teachers to also be added in May this year, to help attract desperately needed professionals to New Zealand.

“After months of dithering, it is a relief that the Government has finally realised its mistake.

“National welcomes the changes, but there is no excuse for the delays that have only added strain to the already overwhelmed healthcare system.”

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