INDEPENDENT NEWS

Border Exemptions Needed For Skilled Tech People

Published: Mon 7 Dec 2020 07:52 AM
A review of New Zealand’s immigration settings is imperative, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.
There is a major covid bottleneck within Immigration NZ and he wants an immediate border exemption for key tech people, he says.
“We have asked cabinet ministers to urgently consider allowing more rapid entry of targeted candidates with critical advanced digital skills.
“This is affecting inward technology investment while starving the economy of critical skills that are needed now. We would like to see an immediate border exemption for skilled tech people, with at least 50 managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) places a day reserved for skilled migrants needed by technology and other economic contributors.
“We must have a separate and expedited Immigration NZ approvals process for tech investors and migrants with in-demand technology skills.
“Over the past five years, to support the rapid digitisation of businesses, New Zealand has imported approximately 5000 technology specialists with advanced skills.
“With closed borders, it is obvious that what was once a skills shortage could quickly become a catastrophe if not managed well.
“Many Kiwi tech firms and organisations are now unable to find people with critical digital skills such as data analysts, software programmers and cybersecurity experts.
“It is not just tech firms that need these skills, it is banks, agribusinesses, government agencies and health boards.
“Post-covid, technology will continue to reshape how we work, learn and play and this will have a profound impact on our society.”
Technology is a major covid proof economic contributor. Last year, the tech sector employed 114,000 people, was the country’s third largest export and contributed 8 percent of GDP.
The country’s 200 largest tech exporters generated overseas sales of $9.4 billion with annual sales growing at 8.3 percent to $12.7billion.
The sector has been resilient through covid. The majority of firms have continued trading, providing support and services; exporting and creating jobs across New Zealand.

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