Saturday, November 27

Almost 3,000 doctors and nurses waiting to apply for a qualified migrant residence


A consulting radiologist says hiring and retaining staff in critical shortage areas is difficult while there is inertia in immigration policy.

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New figures show that the number of doctors and nurses waiting to apply for residency has skyrocketed to nearly 3,000.

Figures published under the Official Information Law show that the number of physicians who have submitted an expression of interest (EOI) for skilled migrant residency (SMC) has tripled to 675 since May and nurses have more than doubled to 2,231.

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists this week [. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/450373/zero-response-from-govt-after-visa-delay-concerns-raised-doctor-s-union described the process as shambolic],

Family doctors and specialists are thinking of leaving the country or have already left because they cannot get residency.

A consultant radiologist in Hawke’s Bay, Phillip Clarke, is concerned about the arrival of new doctors, including four foreign consultants in his hospital department.

“We have a new radiologist from Britain and a radiologist from the United States. We have a radiologist from Germany, who has been with us for about a year and we have a nuclear medicine doctor from South Africa. All of these people are on the essential list. and none have residency, none have any idea when they are going to obtain residency.

“You’re talking about people who are in their 30s at least. They have partners, they have families, they have a life. You really are trying to build the rest of your life without any guarantees.” whatever, and it’s very, very disturbing.

“Although you may express an interest in moving to New Zealand, even if you are someone in a long-term shortage specialty, where consulting radiologists have been for the last 20 years, your application is piling up and no one is really doing it. Nothing about this, no one has taken anything out of that pile since Covid started 18 months ago. So everything is on hold. “

Meanwhile, he said costly workarounds – sending radiological scanners abroad to fill the labor shortage here – would only get worse if they lose staff.

“They outsource radiology reports overseas online, which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars every month,” he said. “It would be cheaper to hire radiologists to come work here, and we have them, but if we don’t do something, they will come home. It is absolutely insane.

“After a while, you start pulling your hair out, thinking why don’t they just look at these urgent cases that we need to keep our population well and we need these guys, these guys are good, let’s give them residency.”

Clarke arrived in 2007 from Britain, obtaining her residency and citizenship ahead of the current troubles, but said she is speaking out for the consequences of the government’s inaction. He wrote to Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi in April.

“I got a reply and he was very nice, but he didn’t really say anything. He didn’t say, we’re going to start looking at this in July, we’re working on a solution to understand how we’re going to maybe do this at some point.

“We have to say, ‘okay, we’re going to start seeing them next month and we’re going to make a decision on them before Christmas.’ we’re thinking, after 18 months we haven’t decided how we’re going to deal with it. ” If you came to me and I told you we could what to do with doing a scan, I’ll let you know in 18 months what it’s going to be and then we’ll start thinking whether we will or not, you would think I need to fire myself. “

A big problem was looming for recruitment and retention, he added, as uncompetitive pay was combined with immigration difficulties.

“We have a great neighbor next to us called Australia, and apparently, and I think this is true, the highest salary bands that the public health service pays a radiologist in New Zealand is a little less than the starting salary. Radiologists in Australia. It will be a factor in getting people to come to New Zealand to work, and I think the same applies to all qualified and experienced medical specialists and nurses. “

Medical personnel are not the only occupations affected by the SMC residence channel freeze; there are now 11,660 qualified migrant EOIs, covering 25,884 applicants and their families waiting to be selected. Up to 6,000 of them have registered occupations, such as veterinarians, engineers, and dentists, and that also includes 1,500 teachers.

Faafoi said medical personnel should be eligible for temporary visas while awaiting residency.

The government recognized the interruption that the suspension of the selections of expressions of interest for the category of qualified migrants had in the applicants.

“We are working through advice on when and how to reopen the EOI selections, and we will have decisions to announce soon,” he said.

Speculation continued this week on whether the rebooted process would have the same criteria, after INZ accidentally published a new point system on their website.


www.rnz.co.nz

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