Recently, some decisions made by immigration officials regarding the suitability of job applicants when assessing their qualifications and skills against the Long Term Skills Shortages List, has left SIBA members and job applicants at times bewildered as to why their skills and experience were considered inappropriate to the positions they were seeking in the NZ Geospatial sector. In all the cases that were brought to our attention, it was the employment category that was the only remaining barrier to their entry.
In such cases, when the affected parties reached out to SIBA for support, SIBA wrote individual letters of support that could be used to guide Immigration in the assessment of the person's case. However SIBA has been working to solve the problem at source, to put a fence at the top of the cliff rather than play the role of the ambulance at the bottom.
Working with Geoff O'Malley from LINZ, Bryan Clarke, SIBA Executive Committee member has successfully lobbied with MBIE to get a technical review of the "Other Spatial Scientist" skills description. Previously the skills were essentially a BSc in Geography. MBIE have approved both the application to review the Other Spatial Scientist and the wording for the widening of the specific skills sought, to include GIS or computer science skills and experience as well as accepting degrees in excess of BSc. It is not uncommon for people in our game to have a masters or post-grad diploma without the normal bachelor prerequisite.
Full text is below. It is broad enough to demonstrate breadth without going into every possible permutation. We worked with MBIE to try and draw a sensible line in the sand.
MBIE conduct two annual reviews. The first review is on which jobs go on or come off the list. The second review is a technical review around the specific skills that are sought. This technical review won't be completed until March 2017. Until then SIBA will happily continue to write letters of support for people who need it.
For the record, MBIE, were prompt, helpful and constructive.
Bachelor degree or higher qualification majoring in Computer Science, Geography or GIS
AND a minimum of two years' relevant post-qualification work experience in GIS applications (Key Application/ Systems include: ESRI - ARC/GIS; ARC/INFO ARC/SDE; Intergraph GeoMedia; Pitney Bowes MapInfo; GE Smallworld; Oracle Spatial; PostGIS/Postgres; MS SQL Server 2008; Bentley Maps, Geographic; Erdas; Geoserver; Safe FME)