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Applications now open for new work visa holders from offshore.

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New Zealand has taken another significant step forward in our Reconnecting plan today, as work visa applications open for people offshore, Immigration Minister Michael Wood says.
The third and final stage of the new simplified Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) policy opens today, allowing migrants offshore to apply for a work visa to come and work in New Zealand for an accredited employer.
“We know a major constraint on business currently is access to skilled labour. This is happening the world over, but the Accredited Employer Work Visa will play a role in increasing the available pool of labour to fill skilled work shortages,” Michael Wood said.
“The opening of this visa follows on our previous work which has seen approvals granted for over 33,000 critical workers, 13,000 working holidaymakers, and 60,000 migrants approved for residency through the one off 2021 Resident Visa.
“The AEWV is at the heart of the government’s Immigration Rebalance and is focussed on providing New Zealand with the skills we need, while ensuring that migrants are fairly treated.
We believe that the previous system in some cases facilitated a low cost labour model that was neither good for our country or migrant workers.
As such the AEWV is centred around a requirement to pay at the median wage, with limited exemptions for sectors who are transitioning.
“We look forward to working with key sectors to lift pay and conditions so that it is easier to attract New Zealand workers, and for smoother pathways to attract migrant workers on the basis of skill and need, not low-cost labour.”
As part of the new AEWV policy, employers need to be accredited and have completed a job check before they are able to hire a migrant from offshore.
Accreditation applications opened on 23 May and to date 5,666 applications have been received. Of those 4,322 have been approved.
Job check applications opened on 20 June and to date 732 have been received. An employer must have their job check approved before a migrant is able to apply for the role.
“The job check is a very important part of the new AEWV process to hire a migrant from overseas and it is critical that employers provide all the necessary information to demonstrate they have met the requirements of the job check.
“This includes evidence of an acceptable job offer, job description and employment agreement, and proof that the role has been advertised for at least two weeks if it pays less than twice the median wage or is not on the Green List.”
Working visa applications are expected to be processed within 20 working days when the application is accurately filed.
Partners and dependents of work visa applicants are also able to apply for visas from today.
“Reconnecting New Zealand is not just about growing businesses and our economy, but also about reconnecting families who haven’t been able to apply for a visa from offshore while border restrictions have been in place.
“Opening visa applications for partners and dependents of workers who are applying for work visas will make it easier for migrant workers to bring their families with them to New Zealand, making us an attractive place to live and work.”
New Zealand’s borders will be fully open to the world at the end of the month, with student and visitor visa applications opening from 31 July.
Immigration New Zealand has also gearing up by recruiting and training more staff to meet the expected demand, bringing on-board 230 Immigration Officers in the year to May 22.
The Government has also made changes help bring more refugee families together.
“From 1 July 2022, the number of places available under the Refugee Family Support Category (RFSC) increased from 300 to 600 each year.
“We have also removed the fees associated with the RFSC, including the sponsorship registration fee, the application fee, and the immigration levy. This will help alleviate the financial burden on sponsors and applicants.
“A range of extra support is also being provided to sponsors and their families to assist them to get to New Zealand and to settle into their new life and community.
“Combined, these changes to the RFSC will enable more of our New Zealand resident refugees to be reunited with their family,” Michael Wood said.

NZ News

Gang-affiliate arrested in Invercargill after initially fleeing police

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Police in Invercargill have arrested and charged a man with Nomad gang links following an alleged fleeing driver incident last Friday.

The 21-year-old came to the police’s attention following the incident but further enquiries resulted in his arrest on Wednesday.

A firearm, stolen vehicles, ammunition and cannabis have been located and seized.

He has been charged with multiple offences including firearms and ammunition offences, possession of cannabis for supply, theft of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and failing to stop for police.

He has been remanded in custody following an initial court appearance.

Southland Operation Cobalt Acting Detective Sergeant Alun Griffiths said it was part of a push to target gangs under Operation Cobalt.

“Southern District Police continue to step-up enforcement and the disruption of unlawful gang activity across the country as part of Operation Cobalt,” Griffiths said.

“We need our local communities to help us address unlawful behaviour in our region.”

Anyone with information about unlawful behaviour or gang activity can contact the police on 111 if it is happening now, 105 after the fact or via Crimestoppers anonymously.

SOURCE: RNZ

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NZ News

Wairarapa Hospital emergency department’s critically low staffing ‘more than a crisis’

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Health staff at Wairarapa Hospital say pressure on the system is no longer just a crisis but a catastrophe.

The emergency department and the general ward have been down to just two staff on shift several times in the past week.

Trudy Pearce has been a nurse in Wairarapa Hospital’s general ward for four years.

On Friday evening, it was just her and a junior nurse responsible for 23 patients.

Pearce said she was “hoping to God” there would be no emergencies “because we would have been screwed”.

On Sunday, the emergency department was also staffed by just two people.

Department head Dr Norman Gray said the situation was dire.

“I heard the minister say it’s not a crisis, well I think he’s right, it’s more than a crisis, really becoming a catastrophe now,” Gray said.

Having just one nurse staff the emergency department was almost unheard of, he said.

It was ironic the hospital had fewer staff than its industrial action levels, which was set to the safest minimum standards, he said.

The department has hit an all-time nursing staff low, with some working more than 10 days in a row.

There has been a combination of staff leaving the hospital for overseas or entirely, and remaining staff getting sick.

Gray said he felt they were not being believed by the government when they call for help.

“Even if you were heard, you never felt you were believed, and I think that’s still the case now when the minister feels that people are not quite telling the truth, even when they’re using the ministry statistics.”

Inequitable response from Health NZ

Gray said he was aware of other hospitals around the country, and within the Wellington Region, that had been incentivising nurses for the extra work, for example, offering up to triple overtime.

But there has been no sign of that available at Wairarapa Hospital.

Health NZ was not being equitable, Gray said.

“There’s a lack of tangible thank you from the system to our doctors, nurses and other staff here in the Wairarapa, I’m not quite sure why that is.

“When people elsewhere doing the same job are getting some sort of tangible reward or appreciation, it builds resentment.”

The hospital simply needed more staff, he said, but extra money would help alleviate some stress on the remaining nurses and make them feel valued for their tireless work.

Health NZ said it recognised the pressure staff and services were under.

Interim district manager Dale Oliff said it was working to find solutions, and it was already reducing or deferring some planned care to alleviate stress.

Te Whatu Ora Wairarapa was waiting for a national agreement on the incentive payments question, Oliff said.

Health NZ said it was considering all options to recruit staff and it acknowledged the consecutive days some of staff were working and issues around staff safety.

The organisation’s modelling shows that winter illness in Wairarapa will continue for a further six to eight weeks.

Nurse warns people away from career

Nurse Trudy Pearce is worried that burnout is looming for her and her colleagues.

She said there were times she felt disillusioned about her career choices – something she retrained passionately to do.

“If anybody, any teenager or school leaver came and said ‘I want to be a nurse’, I would just totally put them off becoming a nurse,” Pearce said.

“There’s just nothing nice about being a nurse at the moment, and as far as we can see it’s only going to get worse.”

Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson said the state of the hospital was concerning, and the community needed to step up and help alleviate pressure.

She said like many places, there had been a decline in mask use in indoor spaces, and businesses should toughen their stance.

“I really ask that our businesses in the Wairarapa work together and collectively start pushing back at people who are not wearing masks,” Patterson said.

SOURCE: RNZ

 

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NZ News

Additional police presence planned around Eid celebrations

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Muslim community leaders and police are in talks about security ahead of the biggest religious days of the year.

The Federation of Islamic Associations is worried about worshippers’ safety after a spate of attacks before the festival of Eid.

Traditional men’s clothing and electronic equipment were stolen from a mosque in Tauranga on Monday night and a car was torched outside the building some hours later.

The federation is worried the clothing could be used by someone to infiltrate Eid festival events this weekend.

Earlier, on Saturday, a hearse – or janaza van – parked outside a mosque in Upper Hutt had its windscreen smashed.

It remains unclear whether the events are linked.

The federation met last night to discuss security and safety and have spoken with police.

Its spokesperson, Dr Anwar Ghani, told Morning Report the feeling was that the incidents were isolated, however the meeting with police had helped offer the Muslim community assurance their concerns were being heeded.

“Our community is susceptible to hate-related crime, as we saw what happened a couple of years ago, so when something like this happens obviously it brings anxiety in the community.”

He said members of the Muslim community were concerned and there was a need to be “safe [rather] than sorry”, but the police were investigating the incidents and had reassured the federation they would be highly visible during the weekend’s Eid celebrations.

Ghani’s advice to others in the Muslim community was to “be alert, look out, make your own security arrangements, and police is there to assist us as well, as they have been in the past”.

Police say they will have a big presence at the large gatherings happening around the country at mosques, community centres and stadiums.

Source – RNZ

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