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Border Opening In Nick Of Time For NZ Vets

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is delighted that skilled workers will be allowed into New Zealand from Sunday 13 March, helping to ease the country’s dire shortage of veterinarians.

NZVA Chief Executive Kevin Bryant says the announcement has come in the nick of time, as the industry is in crisis, with many of the country’s veterinary teams under far too much pressure trying to fill gaps in the workforce. "With the constant pressure of shortages over the last two years, people seem to have hit the wall and we are receiving an ever increasing flood of enquiries from veterinary teams asking where they can get help. We are very glad to see a light at the end of the tunnel," he says.

"For the re-opening to be truly effective, Immigration New Zealand will need to move quickly in processing visa applications, and we will be doing all that we can to assist them with this."

Since the pandemic began, NZVA has been working alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries and Immigration New Zealand to enable border exceptions for overseas veterinarians. More than 120 overseas veterinarians have been able to enter the country but it has not been enough for an industry that relies so heavily on overseas workers. "The industry also needs to cope with New Zealanders leaving our shores as they start to head off on their OEs. This will exacerbate the challenges faced by understaffed businesses," Bryant says.

Under the Government’s re-opening plan, from 13 March 2022, anyone earning at least 1.5 times the median wage (at least $85,000) is eligible for a critical work visa and is able to enter the country. They will not need to book a space in MIQ but will be required to self-isolate.

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