Climate Change Minister James Shaw skipped COVID-19 managed isolation MIQ and joined self-isolation trial

It was the day thousands of migrants were waiting for: applications for new residency visas opened - but within minutes the Immigration website crashed.

The technology sector says it's a symptom of a skills shortage and Newshub can reveal only 124 foreign IT workers have been given critical work visas.

The team of immigration advisors got to work before dawn, ready and waiting to apply for new fast-tracked residency visas.

"Within minutes it was clear it wasn't getting off the ground - unbelievable," says immigration advisor Katy Armstrong. 

As soon as the category opened, it crashed, crushing the dreams of up to 15,000 migrants who've been waiting since before COVID-19 for residency.

"This was meant to be the fix. This was meant to be the way to actually fix a broken system. And what have we been delivered? Something very broken," says Armstrong. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was expected. 

"We anticipated that this would be an issue," she said on Wednesday. "We just ask people to be patient."

The tech sector says the immigration shutdown is a symptom of the country crashing from a worker shortage.

"There was a skills gap prior to COVID-19 and we now think that's become a skills chasm," says Brett O'Reilly, CEO of the Employers and Manufacturers Association.

National's immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says Immigration NZ is feeling the pinch too. 

"If you go to Immigration New Zealand and their tech sector, they also need IT workers as evidenced today by the fact that their system crashed."

Newshub can reveal that since our borders slammed shut, of the 2785 foreigners granted critical visas, only 124 were IT workers. Manufacturing has the most with 290, while agriculture got 230, film and TV had 209, while tourism and hospitality got 20.

Ardern says she's confident that enough skilled workers have been allowed into the country to plug the shortages. 

"Yes. Never in our history have we had a situation like this pandemic."

It's not just visas stoking worker shortages. They also need to get a golden ticket to managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) - unless you're a Government minister. It turns out James Shaw managed to avoid it.

The Prime Minister initially said the Climate Change Minister wouldn't be part of the home isolation trial.

"I don't think it's likely at this stage," she said in September. 

Newshub can now reveal he actually went straight home as part of the business home-isolation pilot. A Parliamentary Question confirmed: "James Shaw is due to participate in the pilot."

"There should be self-isolation available for all New Zealand travellers coming into New Zealand - not just James Shaw," says National's COVID-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop.

That is the Government's plan eventually - just not before Christmas.