The New Zealand Aged Care Association has welcomed the government’s decision to add aged care nurses to the Long-Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL), calling it a positive step towards addressing chronic nursing shortages in the country.
The Association’s Chief executive, Simon Wallace, said that the government’s decision would allow rest home providers to more efficiently recruit overseas nurses as a time when they were struggling to retain their nurse workforce.
“We have lobbied hard for this over the last 18 months with the valued support of DHBs, Health Workforce New Zealand and the Nursing Governance Group, among others. The government has listened to our voice, responded responsibly, and we welcome that,” Wallace said.
The LTSSL identifies skilled occupations where there is a sustained and ongoing shortage of workers in New Zealand. Those employed in one of those occupations may apply for residence after two years spent working in a LTSSL occupation under specific criteria.
“Our members rely heavily on being able to recruit and retain overseas nurses to be able to provide the highest-quality care for our most vulnerable older people, but there are simply not enough registered nurses available, and at a time when we are now losing nurses to DHBs in the wake of last year’s pay settlement, this decision is a lifeline,” Wallace added.
The government recently revealed that skills shortages lists will become more regionalised, to reflect what skills were needed where, and to show New Zealanders and temporary migrants where there were opportunities are for work.
Early childhood, primary and secondary teaching has been added to skills lists in all regions, while ‘building associate’ has been added to the construction skills shortage list.
Article published 16th May 2019