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NZ tech industry in pain and economy hurting without staff
Tāmaki Makaurau – NZTech members, including many of New Zealand’s biggest companies, say that their economic growth has stalled due to immigration issues.
The tech sector has been trapped by the covid pandemic because of border closures and the struggle to bring skilled tech workers into the country, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.
Kiwi tech companies and NZTech have been working hard in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to encourage young New Zealanders into the digital industry but the domestic pipeline will take time to build and is currently not enough to keep companies’ going as they scramble to fill vacant roles.
“The overall message from our annual general meeting last week was a cry for more skilled overseas tech workers,” Muller says.
“The global health crisis would have brought even greater digital acceleration, bolstering the national economy, but for the shortage of skilled tech staff.
“It is vital that we balance immigration and domestics opportunities for the highly skilled tech industry, which is the fastest growing sector in New Zealand.
“But covid has throttled tech firms who are finding that hundreds of new roles cannot be filled via immigration.
“Our country is hurting since the government declined to introduce a visa specific to the tech industry.
“Immigration NZ said only about 40 percent of applications for tech workers via the Critical Worker visa pathway are being granted, substantially less than for other sectors, and no explanation why has been offered.
“Border closures are painfully impacting the availability of skills in the tech sector.
“We have had feedback from New Zealand-owned global tech firms, game developers, IT service providers, high tech manufacturers, agribusinesses, universities, health boards, government agencies and banks. They are hurting.
“NZ tech firms are having to employ more and more people outside of New Zealand which is not ideal as those jobs will probably never come back to New Zealand.
“With more than 20,000 tech firms in New Zealand the demand for digital skills has hugely outstretched supply, with vacancies throughout the country.”
NZTech is a not-for-profit non-government organisation tasked with helping create a more socially and economically prosperous New Zealand underpinned by a vibrant tech ecosystem.
Following its annual meeting late last week, NZTech welcomed its diverse board with members from Air New Zealand, ANZ Bank, Deloitte, University of Waikato, AUT and small to medium tech firms including CodeHQ, Orbica, Healthpoint, EduSystems and Webtools.
For further information contact NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller on 021 02520767 or NZTech’s media specialist Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188