Saturday, December 4

Doctor excluded from single residence visa says change of government ‘makes no sense’

A doctor says that leaving the country and flying back is the only way for her to be eligible for the government’s single residence visa.

Residence visa application form

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Some of the medical personnel abroad in hospitals and care centers for the elderly are among those whose type visa excludes them from being one of the 165,000 new residents next year.

But critical workers arriving at the border between now and July will be eligible for fast-track permanent settlement, prompting some to consider the unusual option of leaving New Zealand to become residents.

A 28-year-old hospital doctor, who asked not to be identified, moved from the UK in 2019, worked as a doctor in the emergency department and then switched to a work and holiday visa to give herself the flexibility to do substitute work. .

“The essential skills [Work] Visa does not allow that flexibility for doctors abroad, “he said.” And it is a fairly busy road. Many of my colleagues applied for the Working Holiday visa because of that flexibility. “

Back in a contract with the hospital, she was going to apply for an essential skills visa, which would have made her eligible for the single residence visa, but that didn’t happen in time. People already working in New Zealand had to meet the criteria the day before the policy was announced, at the end of September.

His only remaining residency option – flying, returning on a critical care visa and occupying a managed isolation space – “doesn’t make sense,” he said.

“Kind of crazy is that if I had decided to leave, I would go back to the UK in the last two years and apply for a critical purpose visa. [to return] Like many of my colleagues, I would have been eligible for the visa, but since I decided to stay, I am not. So I think the only option is that I have to basically leave New Zealand and come back with a different visa. “

It was annoying, a waste of time and money, and meant a license from the hospital where he now worked, but other residential avenues weren’t open, he said.

Although your type of visa rules it out, you meet the other residency criteria. “I have worked here for two years, I have not had a vacation even though the visa is called a Working Holiday Visa.

“I just think it’s pretty unfair. Everything has been done randomly, without really looking at the technicalities.

“I don’t think they intended it to happen this way, but it’s just an unintended consequence of not really seeing what visas people have, rather than just going through a blanket approach: these people can have the visa, no one else. it can, and not considering individual cases “.

The expense and time involved in taking a trip abroad and potentially a managed seclusion space would not be easy with his job, he said.

Flying, not coming back

While she is considering getting a return flight, others buy a one-way ticket.

A mental health support worker in the South Island, who also asked to remain anonymous, discovered that his partner work visa left him out of the residency visa scheme.

He has had interviews with Canadian employers and leaves with his wife and two children when a job ends.

He had submitted an expression of interest in applying for qualified migrant residency. Although the government has indicated that the process will reopen next July, it will have been closed for almost two and a half years.

The uncertainty about what the criteria will look like when it restarts was compounded by concerns about lengthy visa processing delays.

“All countries need mental health support workers, they are in high demand around the world,” he said. “I will definitely leave this country because our future is really uncertain.

“It will be two and a half years [that] Expressions of interest are not resumed. And then 26 more months to be archived, to be processed, so it will be five years. I believe that being a trusted parent or a trusted partner, I can’t wait five years to decide my career. “

Medical students also do not qualify. One student, who has been in clinical placement at Middlemore Hospital and in the country since 2013, said she was heartbroken to have been excluded.

She studied health sciences, majored in population health, and worked at Auckland DHB as a junior medical advisor before beginning her bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery at the University of Auckland.

Immigration consultant Jack Wu said he had already assisted in more than 100 surgeries, treated 400 patients and administered more than 1,000 Covid-19 smear tests and vaccines.

Using current visa status as the basis for deciding on sole residence criteria was not “logical”, as people with many ineligible visa types may have been working in important roles and for much longer than those who can. request it.

The solution should involve looking at his work in the past three years, he said.

“Look at the status of their visa over the past few years rather than what it was on any given day to determine how much they have worked and contributed to the country,” he said. “Also, any visa with a work permit must be included regardless of the name of the visa.”

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has been contacted for comment.

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