As communities begin to clean up the catastrophic chaos left by Cyclone Gabrielle, the Government has created a recovery visa that will help bring in experts to support the rebuild.
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On Friday, Immigration Minister Michael Wood announced the new recovery visa, where applications will be fast-tracked within seven days and fees wiped for successful applicants.
Minister Wood said the recovery visa will bring overseas specialists into Aotearoa immediately.
"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."
Visa applications open on Friday and will last for up to six months, covering a mix of workers needed for the clean-up and rebuild.
Minister Wood said similar pathways were used when the National Government responded to the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes.
But he acknowledged the new visa does not change the workforce shortage felt across the globe.
"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 relieve pressure on business."
The Minister said as the extent of the damage becomes clear, the Government will consider further initiatives to support access to additional overseas workers.
Minister Wood added the Government is providing further support to Immigration New Zealand to keep up with demand.
"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," Minister Wood said.
"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."