Updates to the Green List and other immigration changes announced this week

Green List Changes announced

Changes to Tier 1 occupations

The Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration held a joint media announcement earlier this week.  In the announcement, several changes were indicated including the addition of three occupations to Tier 1 of the Green List, effective from 15 December.  These are Midwives and Registered Nurses (who move from Tier 2 to Tier 1) and all medical doctors that are not currently listed under Tier 1.

A further occupational group, Auditors, will be added in March 2023 to the Tier 1 group.

As a reminder, Tier 1 occupations allow certain migrants with current employment or an offer of employment in that occupation to qualify for the Straight to Residence pathway under the suite of Skilled Migrant Residence visas that came into force in September 2022.  Potential applicants must meet any qualification, registration or remuneration thresholds as stipulated for their occupation in order to qualify for residence (in addition to English language, health and character requirements).

Changes to Tier 2 occupations

In addition to the widening of Tier 1 occupations, it was also announced that a further 10 occupational groups will be added to the Tier 2 group from March 2023.  These were announced as:

  • Civil Construction Supervisors
  • Drainlayers
  • Skilled Civil Machine Operators
  • Skilled Motor Mechanics
  • Primary School Teachers
  • Gasfitters
  • Skilled Crane Operators
  • Halal Slaughterers
  • Skilled Telecommunication Technicians
  • All secondary teachers not already included

Migrants in these occupations (along with the existing Tier 2 occupations) will be able to apply for residence after working in their skilled occupation for at least 24 months in New Zealand.  As with the Tier 1 occupations, potential applicants must meet any qualification, registration or remuneration thresholds as stipulated for their occupation throughout the 24 month period, in addition to meeting English language, health and character requirements.

Extension of Employer Accreditation status

12 month automatic extension

All accredited employers will have their first approval period extended by 12 months, provided they first applied for accreditation status by 4 July 2023.  This means that all current accredited employers have had a further 12 month validity added to their status, and those who apply between now and 4 July 2023 will be granted a 24 month period of validity.

We note that currently it is unclear whether this automatic 12 month extension on validity also covers Triangular Employer and Franchisee accreditation status.  Employers with these forms of accreditation were intended to only ever receive a maximum of 12 months at each application, compared to Standard and High Volume accreditations that were to be valid for 12 months initially, then 24 months on renewal.

Expansion of accreditation system

The government’s intention during 2023 was to implement a broad requirement for ALL employers of migrants, even those on open work visas (such as partner work visas) to be accredited employers.  This intention has now been deferred to 2024 to allow Immigration New Zealand to focus on more pressing priorities.

Post Study Work Visa holders

Those people who held a Post Study Work Visa after studying in New Zealand but were unable to use the visa due to the border closures will be able to apply for a 12 month open work visa if they have not already travelled to New Zealand on another visa.

Critical Purpose Visitor Visa holders

Those critical workers who came to New Zealand on 12 month Critical Purpose Visitor Visas, and who have remained in the same role, will be eligible for a three year Specific Purpose or Event work visa.  This will require the holder to still be on their Critical Purpose Visitor Visa, be working in the same role and are being paid at least the same rate as when they applied for their Critical Purpose Visitor Visa. 

Many of these visa holders have already changed over to long term work visas or gained residence under the 2021 Resident category, however those who remain on this visa will appreciate the opportunity provided.  Changing to the new three year work visa will allow such visa holders to access public health care going forward.

We appreciate that there is a lot of information to digest regarding the latest updates from Immigration New Zealand, so if you have any questions on the updates provided or would like to discuss the new changes further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all of our clients and contacts a wonderful relaxing Christmas and new year with family and friends.  Our office will reopen on Monday 9 January 2023.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top