New Zealand needs to review its immigration settings and allow border exemptions for skilled migrants to NZ in key tech sectors, says NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller.
Since the pandemic started, New Zealand was forced to close its borders and impose travel restrictions for skilled and business immigrants moving to and from New Zealand, which has “starved the country’s economy of critical skills and investments”, according to Mr Muller.
The tech sector, in particular, has been significantly affected by the stricter immigration settings, given that technology is one of New Zealand’s biggest economic contributor; last year 114,000 skilled employees were hired in the tech sector, making technology the third-largest export from NZ, which contributed 8 per cent of the country’s GDP.
A reduced influx of skilled migrants to NZ, combined with a lack of suitably qualified local workers, has created a significant skills shortage which has left numerous Kiwi tech firms unable to find skilled employees in the country – especially data analysts, software programmers and cybersecurity experts.
Banks, agribusinesses, government agencies and health boards are also suffering from truncated immigration to NZ due to closed borders.
New Zealand employed approximately 5,000 skilled migrants with advanced skills in tech sectors over the last five years.
The country’s 200 largest tech exporters generated $9.4 billion in revenues from international sales last year, which led to annual sales growing by 8.3 per cent to $12.7 billion.