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Changes to immigration settings announced

Today the Government announced a wide range of changes to New Zealand’s workforce and immigration pathways.


The changes include:

  • adding 17 roles to the Green List

  • increasing the Recognised Seasonal Employer cap to 19,500 for 2023/24 season

  • closing the Recovery Visa to new applicants from 23 September 2023

  • existing holders of a Recovery Visa in New Zealand can apply for a 3-month extension

  • adding a small number of roles to the Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement

  • requiring a judicial warrant for out-of-hours compliance visits.

Green List updates

Roles added to the Green List

Seventeen roles will be added to the Green List, following a scheduled and targeted review conducted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Roles being added to the Green List are:

  • Aviation Engineer (Avionics, Aeronautical, Aerospace Engineer)

  • Naval Architects (aka Marine Designer)

  • Mechanical Engineering Technician

  • ICT Database and System Administrator

  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

  • Road Roller Operator

  • Paving Plant Operator

  • Corrections Officer

  • Metal Fabricator

  • Pressure Welder

  • Welder

  • Fitter (General)

  • Fitter and Turner

  • Fitter-Welder

  • Metal Machinist (First Class)

  • Panel Beater

  • Vehicle Painter

The roles will be added to the Green List from March 2024. More information, including the specific requirements for each role and the specific residence pathway that will be available, will be available nearer the time.

Applications for work to residence pathway open

From 29 September 2023, the Green List and Sector Agreement Work to Residence pathways will open to applications for existing occupations on those lists.

Migrants with 2 years of eligible work experience in a Green List Work to Residence or eligible Sector Agreement role will be able to apply for residence if they meet other requirements relating to age, health, character and English language ability.


Increasing the cap for Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme

The cap on the number of workers who may be employed under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme is increasing to 19,500 for the 2023/2024 season — 500 more than the previous year.  

The new RSE cap will allow access to workers from participating Pacific countries, providing workforce to the horticulture and wine sectors where local workers are not available. 

This year’s increase reflects the request from industry for access to more workers, while balancing the effects on the New Zealand labour market, including expected labour market conditions in the coming year and the availability of suitable accommodation.  


Cyclone Gabrielle Response Recovery Visa

The Government has announced that the Recovery Visa is closed to new applications from 23 September 2023.   

From 23 September, existing visa holders already in New Zealand will be able to apply for a 3-month extension to the Recovery Visa, to allow them time to transition to longer term work visas if necessary. You can find out more information about the Accredited Employer Work Visa in the section on Accreditation for the AEWV.


Immigration New Zealand will contact existing visa holders as their visas approach expiration, to inform them of their options. Eligible visa holders will be able to apply for the extension using the existing online form for the Specific Purpose Work Visa. 


New roles added to Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement

Additional roles will also be added to the Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement. These will be added early next year, and more information will be available closer to the time.  

The roles being added to the Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement are:  

  • Driller’s Assistant (821912) 

  • Earthmoving Labourer (821113) 

  • Earthmoving Plant Operator (General) (721211) 

  • Linemarker (721912) 

  • Machine Operators n.e.c (711999) 

  • Mechanic’s Assistant (899916)  

  • Road Traffic Controller (899923)

Legislative changes to our out-of-hours compliance visits

Cabinet has agreed to amend the Immigration Act 2009 to require a judicial warrant to be sought for out-of-hours compliance activity, following the recommendation in Mike Heron KC’s independent review of out of hours compliance visits that the Government consider legislative change to specify criteria for these visits.

This change will ensure that powers are not used disproportionately and that there is a legal, third-party check and balance.

MBIE has already accepted the four operational recommendations made in the report and is in the process of implementing them.

Officials will continue work on this legislative change and report back with a specific proposal by the end of November 2023. It will be progressed as a standalone bill that will be passed as soon as possible in the next term.

Read about the Mike Heron KC report and download the PDF on the MBIE website.


Source: INZ

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