Immigration New Zealand has announced that the Green List and Sector Agreements Work to Residence pathways will open for residence visa applications from 29th September 2023.
If you’ve got two years of eligible work experience in a Green List or Sector Agreement role in New Zealand and meet the necessary skill and wage thresholds, you could be on your way to securing residence. Of course, you’ll also need to meet the standard residence requirements, including health, character, English language, and age.
Under the Work to Residence program, you’ll have three visa pathways to choose from:
- Skilled Residence: Green List Work to Residence Visa
- Skilled Residence: Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa
- Skilled Residence: Transport Sector Work to Residence Visa
All work visa holders and Critical Purpose Visitor Visa holders with work rights can count their work experience towards these residence pathways.
You must have two years of work experience accrued in a relevant role from 29th September 2021, and within 30 months from the date of your residence application. Additionally, you’ll need to meet the skill and wage thresholds for your chosen pathway.
To be eligible for a Work to Residence Visa, you must either work for or have an offer of employment from an accredited employer.
Green List Criteria
Green List Work to Residence applicants must earn at least the hourly rate specified in the Green List for their occupation for the entire duration of their 24-month work experience. If there’s no specified rate in the Green List for your occupation, you’ll need to earn at least the median wage (currently NZ$29.66 per hour).
If the specific wage rate or median wage increases during the 24-month period, you won’t have to meet the new threshold until you submit your residence application, unless you change your employment.
Median Wage Exemption
There’s one exemption to the median wage requirement for those applying under the Green List pathway.
If you applied for your work or Critical Purpose Visitor Visa before 29th September 29 2023, you’ll only need to be paid at least the median wage at the time you apply for residence. Please note that this exemption doesn’t apply to Accredited Employer Work Visa holders or when a specific rate is mandated by the Green List for your occupation.
Sector Agreement Criteria
For Care Workforce and Transport Sector Work to Residence applicants, you’ll need to meet the specified pay requirement for the entire 24-month work experience in New Zealand when you apply for residence:
- Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa: You must have worked in New Zealand for 24 months in a care workforce sector role that paid at least the level 4 support workers’ minimum wage per hour rate.
- Transport Sector Work to Residence Visa: You must have worked in a transport sector role for 24 months and meet the role’s work requirements.
New Priority Processing Order for Skilled Residence Applications
Starting from 29th September 2023, a new priority processing order for skilled residence applications will be in effect. This applies to applications under Work to Residence, Straight to Residence, and the Skilled Migrant Category.
Under the new priority processing order, the following categories will be processed before other skilled residence applications:
- People in occupations on the Tier 1 Green List
- People paid 3x the median wage
- Skilled Migrant Category applicants with 6 Points without work experience
No cap exists on the number of Skilled Residence visas that can be granted.
If you want to find out more about how this impacts you, get in touch.