Green List eases visas, provides direct pathway to residence


 

Nurses will be the immediate beneficiaries from December 15, teachers and others follow

Malini Yugendran
Auckland, December 14, 2022

Ease of visa processes, a straight pathway to residence for qualified professionals in certain categories and work-to-residence procedure for many others are among the measures announced by Immigration Minister Michael Wood on Monday, December 12, 2022.

He had indicated to Indian Newslink on December 10, 2022, during a Facebook Discussion of Indians Living Abroad (Please read the stories here and here.) and this announcement has been received well by employers and migrant workers.

Mr Wood said that the Green List is being expanded to include more professionals in the healthcare, education and construction sectors.

“While commentators are suggesting that our labour market is starting to lose some of its heat, we are continuing to pull out all the stops to position ourselves ahead of the pack. We are supporting those businesses and sectors feeling these shortages more acutely, like our healthcare workforce, with a mind to preparing for the year ahead. From December 15, 2022, registered nurses and midwives will have an immediate pathway to residence including those already in New Zealand,” he said.

Residence to Nurses and Teachers

He said that 3474 nurses have arrived in the country since the Covid-19 pandemic and agreed that more needs to be done to encourage more nurses to choose to work in New Zealand.

From March 2023, the work-to-residence pathway will be expanded to include all teachers, drain layers, motor mechanics, skilled civil machine operators and many others.

“All applicants will be able to count time on a work visa from 29 September 2021, towards their work-to-residence requirement. Our sector agreements are in place across the construction, seafood, aged care, meat processing, seasonal snow, and adventure tourism sectors. We have agreed to extend the scheme to bus and truck drivers with a time-limited, two-year residence pathway. The agreement will support our work underway to improve better wages and conditions for bus drivers and local workforce development. This will help relieve the national driver shortage, helping Kiwis and goods get to where they need to go,” Mr Wood said.

“The Green List has been under constant review and will be evaluated next in mid-2023. We have said that we are prepared to make changes when the evidence supports the need, and we will continue to monitor our settings to ensure that they remain fit for purpose. Our immigration rebalance was designed to make it easier for employers to get the highly-skilled workers they need, simplify the settings and streamline application processes for businesses while reducing the previous reliance on lower-skilled migrant workers to help improve productivity, wages and working conditions for everyone,” he added.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood: Major changes to address skills shortages (INL File Photo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional measures

Among the other measures to ease the skills shortage are (1) Automatic extension of employer accreditation by 12 months if their first accreditation is applied by 4 July 2023 (2) A streamlined Specific Purpose Work Visa to help keep the approximate 2500 long-term critical workers already in the country to continue to work in their current role for up to three years (3) Providing a 12-month Open Work Visa for approximately 1800 previous holders of Post Study Work Visas who missed out because of the border closure in 2020-21 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“By listening to the concerns of these sectors and working with them to take practicable steps to unlock additional labour, we know these measures will help fill skills gaps, as businesses work towards more productive and resilient ways of operating,” Mr Wood said.

He said that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has approved more than 94,000 job positions for international recruitment and granted over 40,000 working holiday visas this year.

“As well as reopening the Pacific Access Category and Samoa Quota, we have delivered the largest increase in a decade to the RSE scheme. We have resumed the Skilled Migrant Category and Parent Category to strengthen our international offering.  However, we are aware that more needs to be done to support businesses to attract the workers they need,” he said.

Mr Wood said that the labour shortage is not peculiar to New Zealand since almost all countries are experiencing the phenomenon. The New Zealand government has taken steps to help businesses to recruit internationally to fill these shortages, he said.

“New Zealand’s strong economic position during a time of global downturn presents a unique opportunity to attract more high-skilled migrant workers to our shores, as we prepare for a challenging year ahead. We understand that labour shortages are the biggest issue facing New Zealand businesses and are contributing to cost of living pressures too. These measures are about addressing those shortages and providing greater certainty to businesses as they recover from the pandemic,” he said.

“Overall, with the suite of measures announced today, alongside the likes of the Skilled Migrant Category and Accredited Employer Work Visa, I am confident that Aotearoa New Zealand has the settings it needs to access skilled labour, support migrants and help us through the challenging year ahead,” he said.

Roles added to the Green List

The following post and jobs have been added to the government’s Green List effective either from today or from the dates that accompany specific posts: Civil Construction Supervisors, Gasfitters, Drain Layers, Skilled Crane Operators, Skilled Civil Machine Operators, Halal Slaughterers, Skilled Motor Mechanics, Skilled Telecommunications Technicians, all Secondary School Teachers (in addition to the specialisations already on the Green List) and Primary school teachers.

In addition to nurses, the following will also be added to those qualifying straight to Residence Tier: Midwives (on December 15, 2022), Specialist Doctors not already on the Green List (on December 15, 2022), Registered Auditors (from March 2023), Bus and Truck Drivers (time-limited residence pathway through a sector agreement).

Mr Wood said that the Cabinet has agreed in principle to develop a sector agreement to support workforce needs and that officials will consult with transport sector representatives in the development of the agreement.

Immigration Rebalance and Student Visas

Mr Wood that his Ministry and INZ have been working to relieve workforce shortages and that more than 200,000 migrants will be able to obtain residency through the Pathway to Residency announced last year.

“Visas are now available to people from Non-Visa Waiver countries and international student visas have also opened. We have introduced sector agreements for tourism, hospitality, the care workforce, construction and infrastructure, meat processing, seafood, seasonal snow and adventure tourism. We have also delayed the introduction of the requirement for partners to hold their own AEWV,” he said.

Other measures include the extension of the visas of working holiday makers already in New Zealand with visas expiring between August 26, 2022, and 31 May 2023 for six months.

We have also provided an additional opportunity for those who previously held a working holiday visa but didn’t travel due to Covid-19 to come to New Zealand for the summer.

Malini Yugendran is an Indian Newslink Reporter based in Auckland.

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