SIBA asks govt to ease immigration of GIS experts

SIBA asks govt to ease immigration of GIS experts

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New Zealand: Citing shortage of GIS experts in New Zealand, the geospatial industry association wants the government to get skills in GIS recognised by immigration authorities and include them in the long-term skill shortage list. Experienced geospatial specialists will then find it easier to enter New Zealand and gain residency.

Representatives of the New Zealand’s Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA) presented their final case to the immigration sector of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment earlier this month, and are now waiting for a reply, said Scott Campbell of Eagle Technology, the capability specialist on the SIBA executive.

Campbell further said that the shortage problem is not specifically a New Zealand challenge; countries such as Australia and the US have recognised it earlier and their governments have included geospatial expertise on their occupational lists. It is a particularly visible need in Australia given the huge mining industry, but the value of GIS as a cost-saver is now being recognised in New Zealand, well beyond the traditional GIS-rich areas of central and local government, Campbell added.

“We’ve seen in traditionally strong GIS areas, a lot of jobs have been cut; we’re seeing senior experienced geospatial people who’ve been made redundant from say a transport company or central government agency or council,” Campbell said. “They’ve not had to resort to driving taxis yet, but they’re unable to get positions that fully use their skills. So one of the reasons behind us trying to lower the barriers to immigration is that there’s a pool of skilled resources in the UK specifically, whom we could be recruiting.”

To provide ammunition for a demonstration of the need here, the association commissioned an online survey run by Victoria University to establish the pattern of skill shortages in GIS. Returns from 160 organisations gave hard figures to substantiate the existence of the lack of supply and the growth of demand, Campbell said.

Source: Computer World