New Recovery Visa created to support cyclone and flooding rebuild in New Zealand

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New Zealand Government introduces New Recovery Visa following Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland flooding, with applications processing within a week.

The Government’s new Recovery Visa announced today will help bring in the additional specialist workers needed to support rebuild efforts in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle and Auckland flooding across the North Island.

The Recovery Visa (a Specific Purpose Work Visa), will allow employers to sponsor migrants to come to New Zealand for a specific event or purpose, including working on an emergency response.

INZ will aim to process applications for the Recovery Visa within a week and many of them will be decided even quicker.

The initial visa will last up to 6 months. The $700 fee will be refunded for successful applicants.

“The Recovery Visa means overseas specialists needed to support the recovery efforts can come here immediately,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“In the short term we are likely to need experts such as insurance assessors, infrastructure and utilities engineers and technicians, heavy machinery operators and debris removal workers to support the experts we’ve already got in country,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“In the short term we are likely to need experts such as insurance assessors, infrastructure and utilities engineers and technicians, heavy machinery operators and debris removal workers to support the experts we’ve already got in country,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“The visa covers the mix of workers needed for clean-up and recovery, including construction workers. Applications will be open today and the visa will last for up to six months. The fee will be refunded for successful applicants, making it free for those who come here,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

Employers wanting to recruit migrant workers for longer term roles are encouraged to use the existing Accredited Employer Work Visa. Changes are being considered to this visa to support faster processing for identified roles that will support the recovery and rebuild. These roles will be exempt from the labour market test.

Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Alan Pollard welcomed the changes, saying the new category was flexible and streamlined enough for the industry to recruit workers from overseas to work on the cyclone cleanup response, without the significant barriers that have prevented the industry from overcoming its critical shortage of workers.

“This visa category will enable the civil construction industry to get the people it needs, without the burdens imposed by excessive cost, delay and red tape. It’s what our members need to be able to address the challenges posed by the cyclone,” says Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Alan Pollard.

Mr Pollard said while six months validity after issue was not a long time for the visa to be granted, he hoped the visa would be streamlined to connect in with other opportunities for migrants to support the country’s massive recovery build.

“It’s clear from the scale of this disaster that we have a lot of work to do. Civil construction companies are working hard to clean up debris and silt, as well as repair roads, public spaces and private properties. But they also need to look after their people, who can only work in ‘crisis mode’ for so long. New overseas workers will help spread the load,” says Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Alan Pollard.

Good mental health support was also needed to prevent fatigue and burnout amongst those working to repair the damage wreaked by the cyclone, and encouraged companies to explore new crisis resources produced by MATES in Construction NZ.

The next step would be a co-ordinated international campaign to recruit top international talent that leveraged NZ’s global status and international networks, Mr Pollard said.

Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Alan Pollard also called on Kiwis to take up the challenge and contribute to cyclone response and recovery ‘however they can’, with huge opportunity for workers in the cleanup and recovery, in addition to the construction and maintenance of NZ’s transport and water networks.

Alongside the introduction of the Recovery Visa, the Government is providing additional support to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to speed up visa processing.

“The Public Service Commission is working with Immigration New Zealand to bring in additional medical assessors and identity specialists as additional resource from across the private and public sector to support overall visa processing timeframes,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

“These skills will be made available to Immigration as they are freed up elsewhere. It’s important however to stress they will not be pulled from the immediate Cyclone response,” says Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

Migrants already in New Zealand who need to change their role and location will be able to do so without breaching their visa conditions for up to 2 months – provided they stay with their same employer.

Migrants wanting to move to another employer will still need to apply for a Job Change or Variation of Conditions.

Source: Crown copyright | Civil Contractors NZ | © 2023 IMMIGRATION NEW ZEALAND

Image source: Civil Contractors NZ

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