An Otaki medical practice has shut its books to new patients a beloved Welsh GP, left New Zealand after growing tired of waiting for residency. Due to Covid’s impact on the immigration office, the Government suspended Expressions of Interest selections for the skilled migrant category  and Otaki GP Dr Harding Richards and his partner had left because without a clear path to residency, they could not see a future in New Zealand. Ōtaki Medical Centre chief executive Kiwa Raureti said Richards had been a skilled GP and  conscientious  team player, with a total of 1354 patients registered to him. And now the practice is no longer able to take on new patients. The good doctor in his mid-30s was intending to buy into the practice but without an invitation to lodge an expression of interest  they weren’t going to get their residency, so they couldn’t buy a house. There is a shortage of GPs trained in New Zealand keen to work in the regions so Ōtaki’s loss of a young skilled doctor has hit even harder. Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi says applications for skilled residence had  risen significantly over the past few years so it was taking longer for decisions to be made.