20 Oct 2021

MIQ: Govt sets aside 300 places a month for health workers

12:06 pm on 20 October 2021

The government is guaranteeing 300 spots a month in managed isolation for health workers.

Andrew Little speaks to media about Covid preparedness

Health Minister Andrew Little (file). Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Health Minister Andrew Little said New Zealand needed health workers to come into the country, whether it be returning New Zealanders or doctors and nurses from other countries.

At the moment, healthcare and disability workers deemed critical to the country are eligible for MIQ rooms set aside for people with "time-sensitive" travel, but they are competing with others already in this category.

"That's making it harder for our health services to get some of the people they need," Little said in a statement.

"Health managers need to be able to bring the people they need into the country and know that they can get them places in MIQ."

The Ministry of Health will have priority access to 300 MIQ rooms a month and will work with District Health Boards and Primary Health Organisations to allocate them to workers needed most urgently.

Health and disability workers critical to the health system will still be eligible for emergency allocations if needed, and any existing bookings for healthcare workers will stand.

Those who are citizens or permanent residents will still need proof of a job in New Zealand and must meet immigration requirements.

The new system comes into effect on 1 November, with the first rooms allocated in late November.

The workforce was vital in rebuilding the health system and dealing with the Covid -19 pandemic, Little said.

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