The new Recovery Visa to help bring in additional migrant workers to support cyclone and flooding recovery has attracted over 600 successful applicants within its first month.
“The Government is moving quickly to support businesses bring in the workers needed to recover from Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland floods,” Michael Wood said.
“In the short term we are likely to need additional workers like builders, infrastructure and utilities engineers, and heavy machine operators to support the skilled workers we already have in country.
“The Recovery Visa is less than five weeks old, so the numbers are very encouraging as we build the workforce to reconstruct affect regions.
“A total of 602 Recovery Visa applications have been approved to date, another 287 are being processed and 75 have been declined or withdrawn. Immigration New Zealand is fast tracking applications and the average processing time is four days, which is a fantastic result.
“Within the approved Recovery Visas the most common occupation was labourer with 253, followed by cleaners with 108 applicants, and carpenters with 42.
“So far 161 people whose applications have been approved have arrived in New Zealand, but it’s important to note that it takes time for people to arrange their travel to New Zealand. This number is expected to increase over the coming days and weeks.
“In addition to these numbers 66 weather related special purpose visas were granted before the creation of the Recovery Visa, and 55 people have arrived.
“As we gain a greater understanding of the scope and specialist skills required for the recovery, we will look to introduce further initiatives to support access to additional offshore labour.
“Similar visa pathways were used for the responses to the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes. However, the Recovery Visa will not change global workforce shortages that are still at play. We need to accept the visa may not see the same level of uptake of those in the past – but we understand how important it is to do all we can to have a wide range of tools to deal with the unprecedented situation, and support the recovery,” Michael Wood said.