Health workers guaranteed 300 MIQ spots a month

Source: 1News

Three hundred MIQ spots a month will be allocated to workers in the health and disability sector from November, the Government has announced. 

Group of doctors in a hurry down the hospital hallway for emergency

Health Minister Andrew Little said the current system made it "harder for our health services to get some of the people they need". 

"Health managers need to be able to bring the people they need into the country and know that they can get them places in MIQ," he said. 

"We have already brought in thousands of health workers, but lately employers have been telling me that it’s getting harder to secure places, so we’re sorting that out."

The move comes after advocates and recruiters  called for a streamlined approach  to getting much-needed health workers into the country.

Little said the guaranteed spots would mean health workers won’t have to compete with other critical workers who are eligible for MIQ rooms set aside for "time-sensitive" travel

The change comes into effect from November 1, with the first rooms allocated in late November.

The Ministry of Health would work with DHBs and Primary Health Organisations to allocate the 300 rooms "to the people we need to get here the fastest", Little said. 

Health and disability workers who aren’t citizens or permanent residents would still need to meet immigration requirements and provide proof of a job in New Zealand.

Health and disability workers critical to the health system will still be eligible for emergency allocations if needed. 

Any existing MIQ bookings for healthcare workers would stand.

ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden said the Government's decision was "months too late" and that workers should be able to self-isolate. 

“Health care professionals, who are double vaccinated and have tested negative to Covid, are desperately needed. 

“Instead, they’ve gone from being part of an impossible lottery to having slightly better odds of being able to come to New Zealand," she said.