New Zealand has announced numerous new pathways to residency.
The push to fill the country’s post-pandemic skills shortage comes on the back of the recently launched Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).
The new residency pathways fall into three distinct categories:
- Straight to Residence
- Work to Residence
- Highly Paid
Underpinning the new pathways is the country’s ‘green list’ of hard-to-fill occupations.
Each occupation within the list has been assigned either tier one or tier two status.
Workers in tier one jobs are eligible for the Straight to Residence pathway, which opens on 5 September this year.
Straight to Residence
To be eligible for Straight to Residence, employees must have a contract or contracts of at least six months with no breaks in between.
Additional requirements include:
- The role must fall under Tier 1 of the Green List
- You must meet the role requirements on the list
- The role must be full-time (30 hours per week) or a minimum 12-month fixed-term contract.
Work to Residence
The Work to Residence visa opens in September next year for people working in roles categorised as tier two on the Green List.
To be eligible, employees must meet the Green List’s role requirements and be in their role for at least 24 months from 29 September 2021. The employee must be on an AEWV unless they started the job on another visa before 4 July 2022.
And, as per the Straight to Residency pathway, the Work to Residency visa is for full-time (30 hours per week) roles or a minimum 12-month fixed-term contract.
Another pathway to securing residency is if your job pays at least twice the country’s median wage (currently $55.52 per hour).
This visa also opens in September next year, and applicants must have been in the high-paying job for at least two years.
In addition, the employer needs AEWV accreditation, with the two-year eligibility period commencing on 29 September 2021.
The new approach to residency is a key component of the New Zealand government’s Immigration Rebalance strategy announced in May this year.
The strategy preceded the country’s borders re-opening. The “rebalance” aims to make New Zealand an attractive destination for high-skill workers during the global talent shortage.
The Migration Agency’s Managing Director Sarah Thapa welcomed the announcement of the new residency categories.
“The NZ government is intent upon creating permanent visa pathways to make it easier for people to work and establish a life in the country.
“These visas reward those who have been in New Zealand during the pandemic. Having been hit hard by the extended border restrictions, this decision signals the government’s determination to retain the talent it has onshore.”
“We welcome countries having flexible and creative immigration solutions. These additional residency pathways will open doors to many more people looking to work and live in New Zealand,” she said.
How TMA can help
Are you interested in applying for one of the new residency categories? Are you an employer looking for accreditation under AEWV? Our NZ immigration specialists are here to help. Get in touch with our team today for a smooth, quick, and efficient application and accreditation process.
Sarah Thapa, NZ Immigration Adviser 201801009