Nurses eligible for immediate residency under immigration changes

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister Michael Wood

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Nurses, specialist doctors and midwives will be added to the straight-to-residence pathway among a range of new immigration settings announced by Immigration Minister Michael Wood.

They will be eligible to enter the country under the new setting from this Thursday, 15 December.

There will be a Specific Purpose work visa added to help keep about 2500 critical workers in the country for up to three years, and a 12-month Open Work Visa for the roughly 1800 people who had been on Post Study Work Visas but missed out when the border closed.

Teachers, drainlayers, mechanics and other roles are also being added to the Green List, while bus and truck drivers will be eligible for a new temporary residence pathway.

Employer accreditation is also being extended by a year for those whose first accreditation is for before 4 July next year. This effectively means employers will be accredited for two years from the start instead of having a one-off one-year accreditation.

Wood announced the moves this afternoon alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern following Monday’s Cabinet meeting.

A total 10 roles were being added to the Green List, he said.

“As part of our signalled review, we are expanding the Green List settings to include more professions in our healthcare, education and construction sectors, to give a competitive edge in a highly competitive global environment.”

Wood said the whole world was experiencing labour shortages, and the government had already approved more than 94,000 roles for international recruitment and 40,000 working holiday visas, as well as the largest increase to the RSE scheme in a decade.

However, a shortage of employees was still the biggest problem businesses were grappling with and the measures announced today would help, he said.

“While some commentators are suggesting that our labour market is starting to lose some of its heat, we are continuing to pull out all the stops to position ourselves ahead of the pack,” he said.

“We are supporting those businesses and sectors feeling these shortages more acutely, like our healthcare workforce, with a mind to preparing for the year ahead.”

The government has faced heavy criticism for not including nurses on the straight-to-residence pathway since] it announced its immigration reset in May.

Wood committed in July to monitor the settings for nurses.

Added to Green List straight-to-residence path:

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

Added to Green List work-to-residence path:

  • 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 (some specialisations already on the Green List)
  • Primary school teachers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *