Green List Changes - more occupations now have a fast track to residence pathway24 Jan 2023

In December 2022 the Government made a major change to its list of occupations deemed most in demand, The Immigration Green-List, with a significant expansion of the occupations included. A number of occupations that were initially listed under Tier 2, which provides a Work to Residence pathway, have been elevated to Tier 1 status providing an immediate Fast Track Residence pathway, and new occupations have been added to Tier 2 providing additional Work to Residence pathways.

Tier 1 - Straight to Residence

Effective from 15 December, Registered Nurses, Midwives, and all Specialist Doctors have been added to Tier 1, and Registered Auditors will be added in March 2023.

The elevation of such healthcare professionals from Tier 2 to Tier 1 is a significant back track from the Government who have endured months of criticism from the healthcare sector, and the media, as to why these occupations weren’t included originally under Tier 1, given the significant shortages and global competition for such skills. It transpires that even the Ministry of Health had requested these roles to be included from the outset, and had assumed they were. However, the Immigration Minister was not “on the same page”. The good news is that the “oversight” has been fixed and these much-needed health professionals can now immediately apply for the Green List residence – furthermore such residence applications are accorded the highest priority with current processing timeframes of between 1-3 months (Pathways as also had Green List residence applications approved in less than one week!).

Working with several recruitment partners we have job postings from accredited and migrant friendly employers that could be the next step in your career and your fast track to residence.

Tier 2 – Work to Residence

Effective from March 2023 a number of new occupations have also been added to Tier 2 of the Green List which provides a work to residence pathway once the person has worked for 24 months (after 29/9/2021) in that occupation in New Zealand. New occupations include:
• All secondary school teachers not already on the Green List
• Primary school teachers
• Halal slaughterers
• Skilled motor mechanics
• Skilled telecommunications technicians
• Gasfitters
• Drain layers
• Civil construction supervisors
• Skilled crane operators
• Skilled civil machine operators
• Earthmoving plant operator
• Backhoe operator
• Bulldozer operator
• Excavator operator
• Grader operator
• Loader operator

Bus and Truck Driver Pathway to Residence

A new sector agreement is being established to also provide a work to residence pathway for bus and truck drivers. The details are still being worked on and are due to be published in the new year. The understanding is that eligible applicants will be able to apply for residence after they have worked for 24 months in New Zealand.

Demands for further Expansion

While the changes are quite significant, it goes without saying that some sectors are not happy as their requests for roles to be included on the Green List have been overlooked.

In the healthcare sector there is huge demand for Physiotherapists, yet they have been overlooked for inclusion on either tier of the Green List much to the dismay of the profession. Considering the occupation has sat on the Long Term Skills Shortage List for many years, and vacancy levels are now higher than ever, the exclusion of Physiotherapists is hard to fathom.

Another occupation excluded, to the disappointment of the hospitality industry is Chef. The hospitality sector has struggled to fill skills gaps across all roles, and they requested as a minimum for Chef to be included. It appears the Government believes that being able to obtain a work visa is good enough, but in an extremely competitive world the prospect of being able to obtain residence is a major incentive, something that Australia, our nearest neighbour and greatest competition for talent has done. At least the Government has backed-down on the earlier requirement for chefs to hold specific qualifications!

According to the Government the Green List will be reviewed again in mid- 2023, which also coincides with when the Skilled Migrant Category is due to be reviewed. However given we are in election year, and the dynamics of the current labour market, the reality is that ongoing Green List changes are likely.

For professional advice on your personal and employment circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly Pathwaysᵀᴹ licensed immigration advisers for your free immigration assessment.