There seems to be some confusion regarding the number of professions covered by INZ green list term "specialist physician". It has come to light that there may be an issue with the immigration policy, as most medical specialists would naturally fall under ‘straight-to-residence’ however, cardiologists and pediatricians do not appear on the list of jobs, nor on two-year work visas offered for nurses or mechanics.
Health Minister Andrew Little told RNZ on Wednesday that Immigration New Zealand had been confused about the number of professions covered by the green list term "specialist physician".
"I think Immigration haven't understood some of the terms on the list that it is at the moment, so 'specialist physician' covers a whole range of specialist positions and I think they now understand what that means."
As per INZ, the green list specialist physician roles include allergists, sleep medicine and sexual health physicians and said advice had been put forth regarding the inclusion of additional specialist physician roles. Nothing was mentioned about misunderstanding the category. Those included are of the rarer medical specialities, so it’s interesting to know if there will be a great effect on the current workforce crisis.
"I suspect that the differences between medical sub-specialists has escaped the eye of the immigration department. By only including physicians 'not elsewhere classified' - they have excluded the vast majority of consultant physicians from their programme. This has quite obvious ramifications, is discouraging specialists such as ourselves from applying to come to, or from staying in New Zealand." Tauranga hospital cardiologist Rob McIntosh and his wife Sarah Hartley, a consultant haematologist said.
This possible oversight comes as a surprise as there has been special media attention highlighting the healthcare workforce crisis in New Zealand. The government has been warned by many different people and organisations about the impending shortage of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Yet it appears that they have failed to take action to address this problem which is concerning, as the healthcare workforce crisis is only going to get worse in the years to come.