Two immigration issues - letter to Iain Lees-Galloway

19 December 2019


Read our letter to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway regarding two issues impacting ECE teacher recruitment.

Hon Iain Lees-Galloway

Minister of Immigration

Parliament Buildings

Wellington

Dear Minister,

We wish to raise with you the impact two immigration policies are having on the Early Childhood Education sector, in the midst of a severe teacher shortage. We have raised these issues with officials from Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry of Education but haven’t received a clear response to our concerns.

The Auckland issue

The “SM6.50 bonus points for employment outside the Auckland region” or Auckland Points Policy, is driving immigrant ECE teachers out of Auckland.

Sixty percent of ECE centres operate in the greater Auckland region - it makes no sense to put barriers in place to them hiring immigrant teachers, and completely undermines ECE teacher roles being on the skills shortage list in the first place.

The Early Childhood Council successfully approached Immigration New Zealand in 2017 to have ECE teachers added to the Immediate Skills Shortage list.

We also proposed that any role (not just the ECE teachers) on the skills shortage list be exempted from the policy. We were told this common sense proposal was on a separate review cycle and would be considered in due course – we’ve heard nothing further.

To help inform you of the impact of this particular policy, we have asked our members to write to you with examples of this policy preventing them recruiting overseas-trained teachers – and the pressure this places on their centres.

We’ve also approached other professional bodies with roles listed on the current skills shortage list to seek their views, and support this call where their recruitment is impacted as well.

We look forward to you considering our plea for assistance and hope for a sensible resolution in this matter.

Salary threshold

Our members’ ability to recruit from overseas is further inhibited by September’s substantial increased salary threshold for the Work to Residence – Talent (Accredited Employer) category visa.

This change impacts some larger ECE employers. The increased salary expectations are well-above those paid to qualified teachers in our sector, even after taking into account the current round of salary and wage increases affecting teachers generally.

We need your help/advice

We would appreciate your consideration of these two issues. We welcome your advice on an early resolution to minimise the negative impact on ECE in New Zealand, and to help relieve the teacher shortage.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Reynolds

Chief Executive Officer

Cc: Hon Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education

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