Health-care assistant plea over residency visa

March 28, 2022

I am writing today to bring some issues to light.

Email your letter to: coeditors@nzno.org.nz.
We reserve the right to edit letters for sense and length. Shorter letters (under 400 words) are preferred. Please include address, nursing qualifications and phone number.

I work as a health-care assistant (HCA) in one of the aged care facilities. There are a lot who are working as HCAs — nurses and even doctors who didn’t qualify for the [one-off] 2021 resident visa [fast-tracked for over 5000 health and aged care workers] just because some of them were holding student or partnership visas when it was announced.

This is even though we are working hard and so closely with COVID patients, helping to fill in the gaps for other HCAs, nurses and doctors who got COVID in the process.

NZNO should put pressure on Immigration New Zealand that all who missed out just because of being on a different visa, insufficient time spent in New Zealand or earning less than $27 per hour, should be included and granted the opportunity to be a New Zealand resident.

For all of us working in this field who missed out on that opportunity of one-off 2021 residency visa, it is heart-breaking and very unfair on us.

HCAs’ contribution is no less than any others who are working in the medical field in this extreme situation.

Hope to get some answers.

Sangita Shrestha, HCA,
Auckland

Associate industrial services manager Iain Lees-Galloway replies: Thank you to members who have written to Kaitiaki about their experiences as internationally qualified nurses (IQNs). NZNO is acutely aware of the issues faced by our internationally qualified members. This is something our president, Anne Daniels, has identified as a key area of work for the union. Anne and I recently met with immigration officials along with other unions. During that meeting we advocated for a sharper focus on the needs of people working in the health system. Officials committed to meeting with health unions, including NZNO, to discuss the challenges our members face. We are working with the Council of Trade Unions to arrange that meeting as soon as possible. We look forward to reporting on future meetings with Immigration NZ and to working further with internationally qualified members to advance your interests.

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