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New Zealand’s Digital Economy to Rise with Early Border Opening

Industry leaders have consistently highlighted Aotearoa’s need for more digital workers. That shortcoming in tech talent was made worse with the advent of the virus. However, things should start to turn around with the country’s planned border reopening in July.

NZTech CEO Graeme Muller confirmed that the tech sector was optimistic about Wellington advancing the reopening of the borders. That should be good news for many industries as tech skills shortages are still a major challenge for them.

As per Wellington’s recent announcement, New Zealand is set to reopen its borders come July this year. The development will allow digital workers from abroad to immigrate as the country starts to feel confident about the virus situation and look outwards.

New Zealand has over 20,000 tech firms. Compounded with the rapid digital transformation of some of these companies, it comes as no surprise that the country of five million people would fall short when it comes to talent supply, largely overstretched already.

The nation’s border controls when the pandemic was at its peak were considered much stricter than most other nations. That meant the country was able to put the infection at a minimum eliminating a series of viral outbreaks along the way while getting vaccination rates higher. The aggressive approach has resulted in a COVID-19 death toll that’s far lower compared to other developed nations. However, as more and more countries reopened, many considered the slow reopening of the country counterproductive.

Tech companies have taken advantage of the border exceptions that were made available by the government for tech workers. Still, having these foreign workers stay for good with their families in the country is challenging. Now, with the reopening of the borders, New Zealand’s tech sector should be able to attract digital talent from abroad with greater results, Mueller added.

Moreover, the industry leader forecasted that all that will result in the raising up of New Zealand’s digital economy at a faster rate. Plus, it should help the tech sector to soar. Specifically, he cited the need for more ICT security specialists, software engineers with experience along with a host of ICT management roles. These roles have consistently been sitting at the top of the most needed list for the industry in past surveys.

Fortunately, all these critical ICT roles are part of Wellington’s new green list. Not only will possible out-of-country talents undergo a much simpler recruitment process but also their track to residency in the country is a lot faster.

The opportunities are expanding too. All the tech roles are earning more than double the country’s media rate criteria. Plus, it’s also a great economic stimulant. One newly-recruited tech talent results in the creation of about 5 more jobs around it, Mueller added. Before the virus, there were about 4,500 new high-paying tech roles that entered New Zealand each year. All that meant the growth of New Zealand’s economy shot up as these new hires lived all throughout the country.

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