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NZ Immigration changes to the Green List


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Immigration Minister Michael Wood have announced massive changes in the immigration settings allowing nurses, specialist doctors and midwives immediate residency pathways, among a range of few additional measures.

The major changes that were made during the final post-Cabinet press briefing of 2022, are the inclusion of these three medical occupations to the Green List straight-to-residence tier and 10 additional roles to the Green List work-to-residence tier, including teachers, drain layers, motor mechanics and other roles.

The Green List was established in July, which provided pathways to residency, either immediately or after two years, for 85 professions identified as most in demand. The List has been under constant review and will be next reviewed in mid-2023 with the aim of supporting businesses through the labour shortage and attracting more high-skilled workers in the long term.


Roles added to Green List straight to residence tier

  • Midwives (on 15 December 2022)
  • Specialist doctors not already on the Green List (on 15 December 2022)
  • Registered Auditors (from March 2023)


Roles added to Green List work to residence tier from March 2023

  • Civil construction supervisors
  • Gasfitters
  • Drain layers
  • Skilled crane operators
  • Skilled civil machine operators
  • Halal slaughterers
  • Skilled motor mechanics
  • Skilled telecommunications technicians
  • All secondary school teachers (in addition to the specialisations already on the Green List)
  • Primary school teachers


Other changes

A range of additional measures has also been confirmed, including:

  • A new temporary residence pathway for bus and truck drivers through a new sector agreement to help employers attract workers.
  • Automatically extending employer accreditation by 12 months if their first accreditation is applied for by 4 July 2023.
  • Introducing a streamlined Specific Purpose work visa to help keep the approximate 2,500 long-term critical workers already in the country to continue to work in their current role for up to three years.
  • Providing a 12-month Open Work Visa for approximately 1800 previous holders of Post Study Work Visas who missed out because of the border closure in 2020-21 during the COVID-19 pandemic.


2022 immigration overview

According to Immigration Minister Michael Wood, since the borders reopened in July, the Government has approved over 94,000 job positions for international recruitment, granted over 40,000 working holiday visas, reopened the Pacific Access Category and Samoa Quota, delivered the largest increase in a decade to the RSE scheme, and resumed the Skilled Migrant Category and Parent Category.

Overall, with the suite of changes, measures, and rebalances, the Government is trying to simplify the settings and streamline application processes for businesses, while reducing the previous reliance on lower-skilled migrant workers to help improve productivity, wages and working conditions for everyone.


If you have any questions regarding this announcement or have any immigration enquiries, please contact Arno Nothnagel, our NZ Immigration Director, here.

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