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New Government Measures for Attracting Highly Skilled Migrants

Expansion of Green List, Employer Accreditation Deadline Deferred, Post Study Work Visas, Helping Critical Workers to Remain in their Roles.

The following measures have been implemented by the New Zealand Government to attract more high skilled migrants to New Zealand:

1. Additions to the Green List

Migrants overseas or in New Zealand eligible for Straight to Residence (StR) Green List roles will be able to apply for New Zealand residence.

Migrant workers employed in Work to Residence (WtR) Green List roles can apply for residence after 2 years.

ANZSCO code to be used by employers & applicants for a job check or Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is Specialist Physicians nec (253399).

From 15 December 2022

  • Medical doctor roles not already on the StR Green List will be added.
  • All registered nurse & midwife roles will move from WtR to the StR Green List.

From March 2023

  • Auditors will be added to the StR Green list
  • Those primary & secondary school teacher roles not already on the WtR Green List will be included.
  • The following roles will be added to the WtR Green List:

Halal Slaughterer, Skilled Motor Mechanic, Skilled Telecommunications Technician, Gasfitter, Drainlayer, Building Associate (specifically Civil Construction Supervisor), Skilled Crane Operator, Earthmoving Plant Operator (General), Backhoe Operator, Bulldozer Operator, Excavator Operator, Grader Operator and Loader Operator

  • Bus and truck drivers will have a residence pathway through a sector agreement

The Government will review the Green List in mid-2023. For more information about Green List roles, please click here.

2. Employer Accreditation

A 12-month extension has been granted to employers who have applied or will apply for employer accreditation before 4 July 2023

As per the announcement made by the Government in May 2022, employers wanting to hire migrants, including those with open work rights such as students or working holiday makers, would need to be accredited by 2023. The requirement to be accredited has been deferred to 2024. This is to give the employers more time to prepare.

3. Post Study Work Visas

The Government has decided to grant 12-month open work visas to those applicants who held a Post Study Work Visa but were unable to enter New Zealand or had to leave the country early because of the border closure in March 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.


Family members of these Post Study Work Visa holders can apply for relationship-based visas – open work visas for partners/ spouse and visitor visa or student visa for children. Dependent children granted a student visa will pay the domestic study fees.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will contact the eligible applicants in 2023

4. Critical workers who want to remain in their current role

From 15 December 2022, Critical Purpose Visitor Visa (CPVV) who want to remain in their current role after the expiry of their visa will be able to apply for a Specific Purpose Work Visa (SPWV).

This way, the critical workers will have full 3 years work experience that they would have under the Accredited Employer Work Visa or Essential Skills Work Visa before a labour market test is done.

How to apply for a SPWV:

The SPWV application process for CPVV holders will be streamlined. The CPVV holder must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a SPWV:

  • not be deep water fishing crew, deep sea fishing crew or a seafarer worker
  • must have held a 12-month CPVV as a critical worker
  • be paid at least the minimum wage
  • meet the standard health & character requirements and
  • provide a letter from their employer confirming that the migrant worker will remain in the same role with the same or better conditions.

Employers do not have to be accredited but must comply with New Zealand employment & immigration laws.

For more information about how to apply for a Specific Purpose Work Visa, please click here.

Specific Purpose Work Visa Information:

  1. The SPWV will give critical workers the right to remain in their current role for up to 3 years from the start date of their CPVV
  2. The fee for SPWV applicants is NZ $735


Family members of these SPWV holders can apply for relationship-based visas.

Partners/spouses can apply for open work visas.

Please get in touch with us for more information about Partner of a Worker-Work Visa.

Children can apply for visitor visas or student visas. School-aged dependent children granted a student visa will pay the domestic study fees.

Get in touch with Immigration Advisors New Zealand Ltd, which provides up-to-date immigration information so you can consider opportunities and prepare yourself for the future. To know all the required procedures, contact us at [email protected] or call on +64 09 3790219.

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Vandana Rai

(LIA 201400900)

Vandana Rai is a Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser and has built a reputation around her rare set of skills, which could be considered ideal for her legal profession.

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