15 April 2024

Govt offers three new residence pathways to attract migrants to NZ

The New Zealand government has today announced details of three new residence categories to attract migrants for specified high skilled occupations.

The new residence pathways are: Straight to Residence, Work to Residence and Highly paid Resident pathway.

Straight to Residence pathway for skilled workers in specified occupations, will be ready for people to apply for from 5 September 2022. Eligible migrants employed in these occupations can come to New Zealand on a work visa from 4 July and apply for residence from 5 September 2022.

The other two categories will be available to apply from 29 September 2023, once the applicants have obtained 24 months of acceptable work in New Zealand.

According to MBIE, to be eligible for these pathways, people must meet the following requirements (please note these listed requirements are for mere guidance, not exhaustive):

  • are aged 55 or younger at the time the resident visa application is made
  • principal applicants and partners need to meet the English language requirements set out in the Skilled Migrant Category
  • the employer must be accredited at the time the resident visa is applied for
  • meet standard health and character requirements for residence(for them and their family) even holding an Accredited Employer Work Visa in an eligible occupation

Straight to Residence and Work to Residence Pathways

  • Main requirement for both Green List pathways is the need to have a job in, or job offer for, one of the Green List occupations and meet the specified requirements, etc
  • Employment or offer of employment must also be full-time (at least 30 hours per week), genuine, permanent or for at least a 12-month fixed term contract.
  • Contractors are eligible for the Green List Straight to Residence pathway, subject to some additional criteria.

Highly Paid Resident Pathways

  • This is for people who were paid at least two times the median wage (currently $55.52 per hour) over a 24-month period while working in New Zealand.
  • Principal applicant must demonstrate they have at least 24 months of acceptable work -earned at or above two times the median wage, in NZ.
  • This work in NZ can only be claimed on or after 29 September 2021.

“The new Straight to Residence and Work to Residence pathways are available for specified occupations on the Green List,” says Michael Wood, Minister of Immigration.

“The new pathways will have the same health, age, and character requirements as the Skilled Migrant Category but will have a different application process and be more straightforward to apply for with much faster decision times. Immigration New Zealand expects to complete most applications within 6 weeks where complete information has been provided.

“People working in Work to Residence or Highly Paid occupations can count their two years from 29 September 2021. In general, they will also need to be on an Accredited Employer Work Visa, although provisions have been made for people who have already started working in these roles on other work visas before 4 July.

“Many skilled migrants in New Zealand will already be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa but we are backdating when work in New Zealand can be counted to ensure that the small number of people who aren’t eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa can still have some work in New Zealand recognised for the new Work to Residence and Highly Paid pathways,” says Michael Wood.

The application fee and levy will be between $4,020 and $4,890 depending on whether the applicant is applying from within New Zealand or another part of the world.

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