New Zealand has announced border exceptions for tech workers in a bid to attract the best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) talents from around the world.
The border exceptions include 600 “Critical Purpose Visitor Visas” for eligible tech workers to come in and aid New Zealand’s fast-growing tech industry.
In-demand roles that are eligible for the Critical Purpose Visitor Visas include software developers, security specialists, ICT managers and multimedia specialists.
According to government guidelines, tech workers who are deemed eligible for the new visa will be able to move to New Zealand with their partners and children.
Successful applicants will also be eligible for New Zealand’s Resident Visa before its deadline on July 31, 2022.
This initiative to ease border restrictions for ICT workers comes as part of the New Zealand government’s digital transformation plans and efforts to catch up to its rapidly developing tech industry.
Applicants will need an Invitation to Apply from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to qualify for tech border exceptions.
Businesses in New Zealand can apply for an Industry Nomination from NZ Tech, provided the role they are applying for is approved and meets the annual salary threshold.
According to INZ, the annual salary threshold is $120,000 for software and application programmers, ICT security specialists and ICT managers. For multimedia specialists, the annual salary threshold is at least $95,000.
Once submitted, the nomination applications will be handed over to IT Professionals NZ, who will validate and check if all the requirements are satisfied before approving the Industry Nominations.
Businesses with Industry Nominations will then be placed on an approved nomination list that will be provided to INZ.
Finally, the nominated NZ employer will have to complete a Request for Travel with INZ, which will then allow the tech worker to obtain an invitation to apply for the new Critical Purpose Visitor Visa.
Speaking on the border restrictions being eased for tech workers, NZ Tech chief executive Graeme Muller said the need for tech workers in New Zealand is expanding.
He said the 600 visas are like a drop in the ocean compared to the actual number of tech workers needed to support the growth of New Zealand’s tech sector.
He also revealed there is an increasing demand for people with advanced ICT skills in New Zealand, which is exacerbated by a lack of graduates having the required skill levels.
New Zealand issued between 3,500 and 4,500 IT visas each year for the past five years, but the tech sector suffered from a critical skills shortage after the country closed its borders in response to the pandemic.