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Work to residence visas opening for applications

From 29 September 2023, anybody who meets the criteria for the Work to Residence Visa, Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa, or Transport Work to Residence Visas can submit their residence visa application.

On 29 September 2023, the Green List and sector agreements work to residence visas will open for residence visa applications.

This means migrants who want to apply for residence under the Work to Residence Visa, Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa, or Transport Work to Residence Visa can apply if they:

  • have 2 years of eligible work experience in a Green List or sector agreement role in New Zealand, and met the relevant skill and wage thresholds, and

  • meet the other standard visa application requirements such as health, character, English language, and age.

The 24 months of work experience in a relevant role must be gained:

  • while holding any type of work visa, or a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa with work rights, and

  • from September 29, 2021, and within 30 months of the date their residence visa application is made.

This supports the Government’s Immigration Rebalance goals of higher productivity and higher wage economy, making it easier for employers to attract and hire skilled migrants.

Wage requirements for the Green List Work to Residence Visa

People applying for the Work to Residence Visa will need to meet a Green List role requirement of median wage, or role-specific wage threshold in place:

  • at the start of their 24 months of work experience, and

  • at the time they apply for residence.

If the median wage increases during their 24 months of work experience, they need to meet the new threshold when either they apply for the visa or if they change jobs.

There is an exemption If someone applied for their work visa or Critical Purpose Visitor Visa (with work rights) before 29 September 2023. In this case, they only need to be paid the median wage at the time they apply for their residence visa. The exemption does not apply to people on the Accredited Employer Work Visa.

Changes to skilled residence application processing priorities

A new priority of processing skilled residence applications has been agreed. From 29 September 2023, priority will be given to some of these skilled residence applications:

  • Straight to Residence Visa

  • Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

  • Work to Residence Visa

How skilled residence applications will be prioritised

For a skilled residence application to be prioritised, the applicant will need to be either:

  • in a Tier 1 Green List role, or

  • paid 3 times the median wage, or

  • applying for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa and have 6 points without work experience.

Prioritisation means that immigration officers will assess these applications before other skilled residence applications. Once the applications have been allocated, assessment and verification is the same as all other skilled residence applications.

There is no cap on the number of skilled residence visas that can be granted, and all visas will be granted to applicants who meet the relevant immigration requirements.


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