Entry For It Workers Given High Priority.

  • John Delamare

Government has moved to speed up the visa application process for information technology workers seeking to work in New Zealand, the Ministers announced today.

"We recognise that New Zealand residency can act as a recruiting incentive and therefore it provides a competitive advantage when trying to recruit from the global IT workforce," the Ministers said.

"These worker's are being keenly sought-after internationally for Y2K work and often factors such as residency, which fall outside a straight salary package, play a major part in a worker's decision to work in one country or another.

"Specifically the steps taken to give IT workers a high priority are:

The Immigration Service is working with the Information Technology Association of New Zealand (ITANZ) to speed up the visa application process

The Immigration Service will give priority to applications associated with Y2K

The Minister of Immigration will consider approaches from applicants who do not fit the current immigration policies, where the application is urgent and the application cannot be resolved by temporary entry.

As part of the changes to New Zealand Residence Policy recently announced, the Immigration Service and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority are working to achieve a better alignment of skill and experience to the entry points system. Many Cobol programmers who have been identified as a key resource for Y2K work are typically over 40, and have no higher qualification than the equivalent of the New Zealand Bursary or University Entrance Qualification.

The Ministers are concerned that misinformation about work visas has created confusion and some delays in prospective employers considering recruiting from the global IT workforce.

"Under the current process IT workers can be recruited on a temporary work visa where the skills required are not available in New Zealand. This work visa duration can be up to 3 years and can be renewed without having to leave New Zealand.

"An amendment to the Immigration Service operational policy will make it clear that where a person with specialist skills satisfies the necessary requirements they may be granted a new work permit," the Ministers said.