New Zealand creates new recovery visa to support cyclone, flooding rebuilding

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New Zealand has created a new Recovery Visa category to help bring in the additional specialist workers needed to support rebuild efforts in the wake of cyclone Gabrielle and Auckland flooding, the country’s worst natural disasters in decades.

“The Recovery Visa means overseas specialists needed to support the recovery efforts can come here immediately,” Immigration Minister Michael Wood said on Friday.

In the short term, experts such as insurance assessors, infrastructure and utilities engineers and technicians, heavy machinery operators, and debris removal workers are needed, Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as saying.

“The visa covers the mix of workers needed for clean-up and recovery, including construction workers,” he said, adding applications opened on Friday and the visa will last for up to six months.

The fee will be refunded for successful applicants, making it free for those who come here.

Recovery Visa applications will be prioritized by Immigration New Zealand, with the aim of processing an application within a week of receiving it, he said.

Similar visa pathways were used for the responses to the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, the Minister said, adding global workforce shortages mean the visa may not see as many applicants as in the past.

New Zealand declared a state of national emergency on February 14, the third time in the country’s history, due to the devastating weather event which caused widespread power outages, flight cancellations, and school closures on the North Island.

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