Green List Visa Roles Updated

The government has again announced several changes to the Green List Visa category, with nurses and midwives finally added to the list of in-demand, high-skill roles that New Zealand desperately needs. 

With escalating strain being placed on New Zealand’s healthcare system, registered nurses, midwives, and all medical doctors will now be moved from the Work to Residence immigration category to the fast-tracked Straight to Residence Green List pathway. 

In this guide, we explain the new changes to the Green List Visa and what that might mean for you. 

What is the NZ Immigration Green List?

As part of the border reopening and immigration changes post-covid, the government announced the new ‘Green List’ of hard-to-fill, highly skilled roles that provide a priority pathway to residency in New Zealand in August 2022.

The new fast-tracked ‘Straight to Residence’ pathway was introduced for people who work in one of the Green List occupations and have a job offer from an accredited employer. If they meet the criteria, they can come to New Zealand on a work visa and apply for residence. Residence can also be applied for directly from overseas. 

Nurses, midwives fast-tracked, finally

From 15 December 2022, registered nurses and midwives will move from the Work to Residence immigration tier to the Straight to Residence Green List tier. All medical doctors are also now included on the Straight to Residence pathway. This change will include those who are already residing in New Zealand. 

With the increased strain on the New Zealand health system during the global pandemic, which has accelerated post-covid, it has taken the government an excessive amount of time to implement these critical changes, despite the vocal criticism of many in the healthcare and immigration sectors who have been calling for these actions since the borders reopened. 

The ‘Straight to Residence’ fast-tracked category is intended to make the pathway easier for those seeking to fill the in-demand, high-skilled roles to live and work in New Zealand.

The government also announced that auditors will be added to the Straight to Residence Green List pathway from March 2023. 

Further skilled professions added 

With a chronic skilled workforce shortage across the country in all areas, from telecommunications to education and construction, the government also announced changes to its Work to Residence Green List pathway. 

Professions from the list below can apply under the new category from March 2023.

Roles added to Green List work to residence tier:

  • Civil construction supervisors
  • Gasfitters
  • Drainlayers
  • Skilled crane operators
  • Skilled civil machine operators
  • Halal slaughterers
  • Skilled motor mechanics
  • Skilled telecommunications technicians
  • All secondary school teachers 
  • Primary school teachers

The Green List is set to be reviewed again in mid-2023.

Too little, too late?

Although the Green List Visa is working well, and news that nurses and midwives have finally been added to the Straight to Residence Green List tier is much welcomed, it is hard not to feel somewhat cynical that this announcement has been made due to a panicked government that has realised its inaction on these crucial immigration issues has left New Zealand in a vulnerable state. 

Despite our advocacy for our highly skilled clients who want to live and work in New Zealand, there is a sense that the government are only now joining a race that is already close to the finish line. Unfortunately, the government has been oblivious to the real and pressing issue facing businesses, the labour market, and the broader economy in a post-covid world.

The length of time it has taken for the government to place nurses, midwives and all doctors on the Straight to Residence Green List tier is inexcusable at a time when many of these highly skilled workers are now choosing to live and work in places like Canada, Australia and the UK who are offering more competitive salaries and less-complex paths to residency. 

How we can help

Despite these issues, New Zealand is in a growth stage, and the demand for skilled workers in these hard-to-fill roles has never been higher. The team at NZIL are highly experienced at assisting with Straight to Residence Green List and Work to Residence Green List applications. 

If you require help or advice regarding these applications, contact our team. 

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