Providing pathways to New Zealand residence

The Green List provides job-based residence options for migrant workers who have very specific and much needed skills.


What is The Green List?

On 5 September 2022 the Government introduced the Green List as part of the skilled residence category, and to provide pathways to New Zealand residence for people who have very specific and much needed skills.

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What you need to know:

The Green List currently comprises some 90 occupations, which are divided into Tier 1 and Tier 2 roles. Tier 1 roles comprise mainly construction managers, surveyors, engineers, doctors/medical specialists, scientists, ICT roles, and multimedia specialists. While Tier 2 roles include health professionals (including nurses), particular teacher and trades roles, and dairy farm management roles.

New roles are being progressively added to the Green List with additional ICT roles being added to Tier 1 from 10 October 2022, and the Government has also advised health care workers will be added to the Tier 2 list.

A person employed (or who has an offer of employment) in a Tier 1 role, can now apply directly for residence, and a person working in a Tier 2 role can make a residence application after working in that role for 2 years in New Zealand (ie; work-to-residence).

All Green List applicants must;
  • Be aged under 56 years at the time the residence application is made
  • Be of acceptable health and character
  • Have employment (or an employment offer) which is:
    • genuine and for a minimum of 30 hours pw
    • for a permanent role or for a fixed term of at least 12 months or an acceptable contract for services
    • with an INZ accredited employer
    • a match to a Green List role and for which the applicant has the required credentials

In addition, anyone who is in a highly-paid role can also be eligible for work-to-residence. The threshold to be highly paid is calculated at 2 x the New Zealand median wage, which currently equates to $115,482 pa (increasing to $123,386 pa from 27 February 2023). The above listed criteria for Green List roles also applies apart from the requirement to have employment in a Green List role.

All applicants must also meet the English language requirement. This can be met by applicants who are citizens of Canada, Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or USA and who have spent at least 5 years in work or education in any of these countries, or in New Zealand or Australia. Other applicants who have an acceptable tertiary level qualification in any of these countries, and which is recognised within INZ instructions, can also rely on this qualification to meet the English requirement.

All other applicants must meet the English requirement by taking, and passing, one of the following English tests;
  • IELTS – General or Academic - with an overall score of 6.5 or more (NB: the Academic test can be taken online)
  • TOEFL Internet-based test – with an overall score of 79 or more
  • PTE Academic - with an overall score of 58 or more
  • Cambridge B2 First/First for Schools - overall score of 176 or more
  • OET – grade B or higher in all four skills

Partners and any dependent children aged 16 years and higher must also meet a lower English language requirement (eg; IELTS 5.0). However this is not a lodgment requirement, but rather a condition required to met before the residence can be finally approved. Partners and dependent children also have the option to pre-purchase ESOL lessons.

Residence applications are lodged online and can include an applicant’s partner and any children aged under 25 years who meet dependent child criteria. The INZ application fee for a Green List residence application is NZ$4,290 if in New Zealand, NZ$4,020 if in the Pacific, and NZ$4,890 for all other overseas-based applicants. Green List residence applications will be afforded priority processing by INZ.

Applicants who are not eligible to apply under the Green List, or highly-paid, options should review the Skilled Migrant Category which will re-open on 9 November 2022. The SMC is a points based category with points attributable for age, qualifications, skilled employment and work experience.

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