We’ve been hearing a lot of concern from the profession on the challenges of bringing overseas engineers into New Zealand. We know industry is very busy and the need for overseas talent to support project delivery is high.

In July 2021 ACE New Zealand, Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects, Civil Contractors New Zealand and the Registered Builders Association published a report 'Skills Shortage, Recruitment & Immigration Challenges in the Construction Sector', which quantifies the scale of demand for skills.

Read the report

Current immigration settings

New Zealand’s border closed on 20 March 2020. To get workers through the border is a three-step process:

  1. Border exception
  2. Visa
  3. Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) placement

Border exceptions and MIQ places

ACE New Zealand, Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects, Civil Contractors New Zealand and the Registered Builders Association are currently leading work with Immigration New Zealand and the Construction Sector Accord, to ensure border exception criteria and MIQ placement allocation are better aligned to our sector’s needs to get engineers into New Zealand.

We strongly support this work and are pleased to see progress has been made. Joint work has secured 60 MIQ places per month for the construction sector, and enabled constructive conversations with Immigration New Zealand on options to review immigration policy settings.

Long-term immigration settings

The Government is looking at its long-term immigration settings as it works towards opening the border. This work will impact visa availability and criteria and the future flow of engineers into New Zealand.

Here at Engineering New Zealand, we are watching developments closely. Ensuring the sustainability of the engineering workforce is a key priority for us and we will advocate for the continued training of engineers in New Zealand, as well as the appropriate visa settings so that we can recruit talent from overseas, where needed.

The Productivity Commission recently released its report on immigration settings 'Immigration, productivity and wellbeing'.

Read the report

Workers already in New Zealand

On 29 September 2021 the Minister of Immigration signalled a new visa category – the 2021 Resident Visa. This new visa provides a pathway to residence for some 165,000 workers fulfilling jobs on the long-term skills shortage list and who have been caught in New Zealand due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but with no pathway to residence, and will be available to applicants’ partners and immediate family members. Applications will open in two tranches, on 1 December 2021 and 1 March 2022.
We'll submit on this report in December. We will also work with firms, industry, and partner organisations to ensure a collective response to the challenges ahead.

If you would like to get in touch with us about this work, please email us at hello@engineeringnz.org