January 26, 2022

Overseas tech workers get border exception to ease shortage in NZ

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New Zealand Government has granted border class exceptions for specialist tech workers to reduce shortage of such workers in the tech firms.

This was announced today by the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, Dr David Clark.

This border exceptions will benefit 600 much-needed specialist workers and will relieve some of the pressure on New Zealand tech firms and support their continued growth and export earnings.

The industry and government are working through the details with the view to having it operational in early 2022.

Today's announcement will soon fill up vacant tech jobs in NZ
Today’s announcement will soon fill up vacant tech jobs in NZ

“The sector is now one of our top three exporters, and jobs in tech have been growing at twice the rate of the general economy. It has continued to expand during the COVID-19 pandemic, placing pressure on the demand for talent,” David Clark said.

“The class exception announced today will relieve some of the pressure on New Zealand tech firms and support their continued growth and export earnings.

“Providing this border exception is part of the next step in Government’s carefully phased approach to reconnecting with the world,” Dr Clark said.

Earlier in July this year, government had granted border exceptions to 300 overseas qualified teachers to ease shortage in schools.

New Zealand tech sector employed 111,760 people in 2020 – 5% of country’s workforce(Stats NZ). According to a TIN report, this year, country’s top 200 tech exporters have reported $13.9b revenues.

The class exception includes 4 categories of workers:

  • Software and Application Programmers
  • ICT Managers
  • ICT Security Specialist, and
  • Multimedia Specialists

There will also be an annual salary threshold that will need to be met – at least $120,000 per annum for software and application programmers, ICT managers and ICT security specialists, and at least $95,000 for multimedia specialists.

“We’re carefully targeting areas of the sector where industry has highlighted a clear need for overseas talent including, software development, product managers, cyber security and interactive media.

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“Resolving the skills mismatch is crucial for the tech sector to grow. However, Government also realises the development of tech skills within New Zealand is fundamental for the industry to realise its potential.”

On its part, the tech sector has also assured the government to develop domestic talent to work in industry.

“As part of an Industry Transformation Plan partnership between Government and the tech industry; the sector has made a commitment to invest in developing domestic talent, rather than relying on overseas talent to fill the gaps,” the Minister added.

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