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Aged care nurses added to New Zealand’s skills shortage list

By 9 September 2019OET News

Aged care nurse and doctor

The New Zealand Government recently added aged care nurses to its long-term skill shortage list (LTSSL).

The move should make it easier for nurses to gain working visas in New Zealand, helping rest homes and other aged care providers fill vacancies.

The decision comes at a time when New Zealand is struggling to retain nurses across several nursing roles.

More efficient nursing recruitment

The New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) has congratulated the New Zealand government’s decision, arguing that it’s a good first step towards addressing the chronic nursing shortages in the industry.

Executive Simon Wallace said the decision will help rest home providers recruit overseas nurses more efficiently and ease the impact of vacancies on the sector.

“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,” Mr Wallace said.

“We applaud the Government for acknowledging the vital and valued role overseas nurses play in caring for our ageing population, an issue which is now something that is in the top 10 things New Zealanders care most about.”

The aged care sector has been struggling to keep hold of nurses in the wake of a pay settlement in August last year.

Map of New Zealand's ageing population

New Zealand’s ageing population crisis

New Zealanders are getting older. The government estimates that one in 4.5 New Zealanders will be over the age of 65 by 2036. This 77% increase is expected to put huge pressure on the current aged care sector.

An ageing population presents the country with several challenges, including lower economic activity. However, the major challenge is how to care for such a large cohort.

Part of the solution is to encourage and facilitate the recruitment and migration of aged care nurses. Adding aged care nurses to the LTSSL will help ease the pressure New Zealand’s ageing population is exerting.

OET is recognised by Immigration New Zealand for visa purposes, while the Nursing Council of New Zealand accepts OET for registration purposes.

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