03 November 2015

Building our international community

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One of the key ways we represent our Members is through facilitating global mobility: we accredit engineering qualifications to internationally-benchmarked standards, making it easier for engineers to find work overseas.

Global mobility is a high priority for the international engineering community. In September, Chief Executive Susan Freeman-Greene met with representatives of engineering institutions in the United Kingdom and Ireland to discuss shared themes and insights in the international engineering community, including:

  • Making sure engineers’ voices are heard
  • Investing in Members’ continued professional development
  • Leading on policy – organisations including the UK’s Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Institute of Engineering and Technology are committed to “thought leadership”, investing time and resource into developing policy frameworks for the profession, advising the government on engineering policy and producing guidance for the public on engineering issues
  • Making the most of technology and digital delivery to reach and engage with more Members and engineers
  • Prioritising global mobility and looking at how engineering institutions can better collaborate internationally, to make things easier for Members working overseas.

Over the next 12 months, we will be working with overseas engineering organisations to look at ways to better collaborate and to strengthen relationships between our institutions.

Susan also met with members of our UK Branch, who are keen to grow their membership among UK-based New Zealand engineers. Branch Chairman Jonathan Gammon FIPENZ asked for our input on a policy submission to the UK Government about their migration policies and the impact these will have on New Zealand’s engineers.

“We’re pleased to be able to lend our voice to the broader policy discussions around these issues and to represent New Zealand’s engineers overseas.”

The UK Government is concerned about the rising numbers of migrants using the Tier 2 migration route. This is the primary route for economic migration to the UK and for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who have an offer of skilled employment.

Like New Zealand, the UK has a shortage of engineers. In our submission, we highlighted the value of New Zealand’s engineers who have similar academic and professional training and design practices to those of engineers in the UK.

The submission highlighted a number of recent studies that conclude the UK has a considerable engineering skill shortage, which is likely to continue in the medium to long term, and the UK is competing globally for engineers.

We pointed out education alone won’t meet the UK’s shortfall of engineers and immigration policies would need to be an integral part of the solution.

We recommended migration policies for engineers from outside the EEA should:

  • not underestimate the long-term nature of the shortage
  • reduce administrative barriers, including employer sponsorship requirements
  • recognise the value of New Zealand’s engineers with similar academic and professional training and design and construction practices.

Susan says: “We’re pleased to be able to lend our voice to the broader policy discussions around these issues and to represent New Zealand’s engineers overseas”.