Health workers guaranteed 300 spots a month in managed isolation and quarantine

Health workers have been guaranteed 300 spots in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) a month, Health Minister Andrew Little has announced.

From November 1, the Ministry of Health will have priority access to 300 MIQ rooms a month and will work with District Health Boards to allocate them to those who need to get to New Zealand the fastest. 

At the moment, health and disability workers deemed critical to the country are eligible for MIQ rooms set aside for people with "time-sensitive" travel.

"But they are competing with others who are also in this category, and that's making it harder for our health services to get some of the people they need," Little said on Wednesday. 

"Health managers need to be able to bring the people they need into the country and know that they can get them places in MIQ.

"We have already brought in thousands of health workers, but lately employers have been telling me that it's getting harder to secure places, so we're sorting that out."

Health and disability workers who are not citizens or permanent residents will still need proof of a job in New Zealand and must meet immigration requirements.

Newshub revealed in July that more than 1000 registered doctors and nurses were stuck frozen in the immigration queue, leading some to pack up and leave. 

The Government announced last month a one-off resident visa that could see about 165,000 people apply, including 5000 health and aged care workers, around 9000 primary industry workers, and more than 800 teachers.