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The New Zealand immigration Green List - green for go?

The New Zealand immigration Green List - green for go?

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In 2020, while the entire world was distressed about Covid-19 and borders were closing, Immigration New Zealand ("INZ") decided to close the tap on skilled migration. A decision was made to suspend the selection of expressions of interest (also known as EOI). The selections normally occurred on a fortnightly basis and would result in a selected candidate receiving an Invitation to Apply for Residence under the Skilled Migrant Category. The suspension remains in place at the time of this article.

Whilst the RV 2021 Resident Visa Category alleviated the need for the Skilled Migrant Category for most migrants in New Zealand, there still remains a significant number of individuals who do not have a pathway to residency until EOI selections resume. Not to mention the skilled migrants who are based offshore and interested in migrating to New Zealand.

So, what pathways to residence remain available? INZ recently announced the 'Green List', a list made up of several occupations which are currently in demand in New Zealand. Those employed in the occupations on this list are promised a pathway to residence and a 'straight-forward' temporary work visa application.

The list is made up of two tiers, Tier 1 occupations provide a straight to residence pathway, whereas Tier 2 occupations provide a work to residence pathway. In order to qualify under either of these pathways, the applicant must be:

• 55 years old or younger;

• Able to meet English language requirements;

• Able to meet health and character requirements; and

• Be employed or have an offer of employment with an accredited employer, for a full-time role.  

Tier 1 applicants are eligible to submit their applications from 5 September 2022, provided they meet the requirements specified on the Green List for their occupation. They must also hold a contract which is valid for at least 12 months (if it is for a fixed term). Given that an offer of employment is sufficient to meet eligibility requirements, this category is suitable not just for those in New Zealand but for those who succeed in obtaining job offers from New Zealand employers whilst based offshore. Occupations on the Tier 1 list include construction project managers, surveyors, telecommunications engineers and general practitioners.

For Tier 2 applicants, they must have worked in the Tier 2 occupation for at least 24 months and meet the requirements specified on the Green List for their occupation. Immigration New Zealand will only count work experience starting from 29 September 2021. Therefore any application under this category can only be lodged at the end of September 2023. Occupations on the Tier 2 list include, registered nurses, early childhood (pre-primary) school teachers, midwives, plumbers and electricians.

For a full list of the occupations on the Green List, please visit this link: Green List occupations

For more details, please contact:

Ramya Sathiyanathan (Special Counsel) on (09) 306 6727 (

See our Expertise page


Written by  Ramya Sathiyanathan

© McVeagh Fleming 2022

This article is published for general information purposes only.  Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  If you require specific legal advice in respect of any legal issue, you should always engage a lawyer to provide that advice.

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