Chamber, ITANZ help with IT skills shortages

More than 120 qualified IT professionals are available and looking for work in New Zealand. They have registered online in a new initiative set up by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

More than 120 qualified IT professionals are available and looking for work in New Zealand. They have registered online in a new initiative set up by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

The free “new kiwis” scheme operates through a website. The service, which is funded by the New Zealand Immigration Service and implemented by the chamber, aims to find work for new immigrants and in the process ease New Zealand’s skill shortages.

Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett says it is a paradox that employers are claiming a shortage of skilled workers, while many qualified recent immigrants with strong IT skills have trouble seeking work.

However, one recruitment consultant recently spoken to by Computerworld says New Zealand employers have some reluctance to employ recent immigrants, mainly for language and cultural reasons.

Barnett is familiar with the argument about lack of English skills or local experience but describes these immigrants as a wasted resource. “IT qualifications tend to be global and generic. Employers wanting to recruit staff to exploit opportunities in the IT market are, I suggest, bypassing a potential goldmine by ignoring the contribution that new migrants bring," he says.

The site has been welcomed by Jim O'Neill, chief executive of ITANZ, which also helps overseas IT professionals find work in New Zealand.

ITANZ last week received government permission to write further “letters of support” to would-be Kiwis, which help them sidestep the NZQA qualifications accreditation process and thus speed up work visa and residency applications. ITANZ also has “immigration roadshows” planned for India and possibly the US, teaching overseas IT professionals about the realities of IT careers in New Zealand.

For employers the site offers a search facility of jobseekers, a site to register job vacancies and a place they can list needed skills. Jobseekers can register skills, list themselves on a jobs database, gain details of networking opportunties and update CVs online.

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