Aged care nurses being added to the long term skill shortage list is among the changes announced by Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway today.
New lists on skills shortages were released by Mr Lees-Galloway, who said they “are now more regionalised so we can build thriving and sustainable regions”.
Aged care work has officially been identified as an occupation in sustained shortage across the country.
Last year Aged Care Association chief executive Simon Wallace urged the Government to change immigration policies in order to retain their workers.
He told RNZ relying on immigration was the only way to fill the gap in the workforce.
The aged care sector revealed in November that despite the Ministry of Social Development’s effort to recruit and train 160 beneficiaries, it was still short by 20 per cent of the caregivers needed to fill the gaping hole in the workforce.
Mr Wallace told RNZ the MSD’s initiatives were not enough to combat the shortage.
In 2013 there were 607,032 Kiwis aged 65 and over, with that figure expected to pass 1.25 million by 2038, according to Stats NZ.
By 2051, 22 per cent of all New Zealanders will be aged 65 years and over.
Stats NZ suggest that this has direct implications for an increased need in aged health care services.
New Zealand Nurses Organisation revealed in January that 83 per cent of 1200 workers surveyed suggested basic care for the elderly was missed due to staff shortages.
Current staffing numbers are not high enough to provide quality care, NZNO told RNZ.
To meet this rapid growth of ageing, Mr Wallace told RNZ that the aged care sector needed 1000 extra caregivers each year for the next decade.
Foxton’s Lonsdale Care Centres general manager Mark Buckley told RNZ that it took particular skills to do the job such as “empathy, compassion, a real desire to work with the elderly and a real desire to work shift work, and that doesn’t always suit everybody”.
Last year’s pay equity settlement was also a failed initiative by the Government to increase the desire to work in the sector as they saw no surge in applications, RNZ reported.
Early childhood, primary and secondary school teachers have been added to the regional skills shortage list, and building associates have been added to the construction and infrastructure skill shortage list
“These proposals simplify the number of different visa options, respond to sectoral or regional differences in the labour market, and align the immigration system with the education, skills and welfare systems,” says Mr Lees-Galloway.
Date: May 09, 2019