More than 250 new graduate nurses have been struggling to find work in practice areas that remain open to migrant nurses.
Last year the New Zealand Nurses Organisation called for the first time for three hospital nursing categories to be dropped from migrant skill shortage lists because of the high numbers of graduate nurses failing to find a hospital nursing job.
The Ministry of Health has now released statistics showing that in mid-March, 261 graduates were still seeking a job in one of the registered nurse practice settings currently listed on Immigration New Zealand's long term or immediate skills shortage lists. More than 185 of these nurses had graduated in November with the remaining 75 having been in the job market for much longer.
Immigration New Zealand late last year came out against closing the door to overseas nurses in the areas of medical, perioperative and critical care & emergency nursing after reviewing demand for registered nurses in these practice areas.
Instead it raised the entry bar for migrant nurses from having three years relevant experience to five years experience in the practice area. No changes were made to the entry criteria for overseas aged care nurses wanting to work in New Zealand with Immigration New Zealand saying that it had been advised there was currently a shortage of registered nurses in aged care.
Nearly 1000 visas were issued to aged care nurses (438 on essential skill visas and 555 skilled migrant visas) in the 12 months to May 31 2014. Visas issued for the other three categories ranged from 29 for perioperative nurses to 116 for medical nurses.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health's ACE job placement clearinghouse, shows that 142 new nurses had successfully gained Nursing Entry to Practice (NETP) programme jobs in medical ward settings and 57 in perioperative care settings
Immigration New Zealand has once again sought nominations from industry stakeholder on which occupations and job categories should be added or removed from the Essential Skills in Demand Lists in 2015.
The occupations selected for review during 2015 will be announced mid-way through the year