Ryman Healthcare has welcomed the New Zealand Government’s rule changes that end months of uncertainty for migrant workers. Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has today announced a one-off resident visa for up to 165,000 migrant workers – including 5,000 health and aged care workers – so they can plan for the future.
The 2021 Resident Visa creates a pathway to residence for workers, a streamlined application process, and the majority of applications will be granted within one year.
Ryman Healthcare Group Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod said the announcement ended uncertainty for several hundred essential healthcare workers who had worked so hard to care for Ryman residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am delighted for our hard-working migrant team members. This is something we have been discussing with the Government for some time, as a way to show respect for the incredible work our migrant caregivers and nurses have done during the pandemic, and before that - caring for older people in New Zealand at a time of crisis.
MacLeod said the change provided certainty, showed appreciation to the essential workers who were on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.
“It reaffirms New Zealand’s position as a welcoming and kind society for people from all over the world and shows our dedication to healthcare and our position as a leader in the global health workforce.’’
Hearing the news today, Malvina Major Retirement Village caregiver, Joan Lagman was ecstatic and relieved.
"After six years of feeling uncertain, finally I have the chance to apply for residency," she said.
Village manager, Albie Calope added he was delighted to hear the news.
"Our migrant caregivers and nurses make a positive contribution to the village and bring unique culture and skills. This now gives them certainty," he said.
The changes announced today will make a huge impact on Joan Lagman's future.
The 2021 Resident Visa will be available to most work-related visa holders, including Essential Skills, Work to Residence, and Post Study Work visas and their immediate family members.
To be eligible, the principal applicant must have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021 and must hold or have applied for (and subsequently be granted) one of the eligible work visas. They must also meet one of the following criteria:
• lived in New Zealand for three or more years, or
• earn above the median wage ($27 per hour or more), or
• work in a role on the Long Term Skill Shortage List, or
• hold occupational registration and work in the health or education sector, or
• work in personal care or other critical health worker roles, or
• work in a specified role in the primary industries.
The visa will also be available for those who enter New Zealand as critical workers, and their families, for roles six months or longer until 31 July 2022.