New Zealand announces early border reopening and significant immigration changes

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The NZ Government has announced full border reopening by July 2022 as well as the introduction of a Green List to attract and hire high-skilled migrants.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a major package of reforms, which include an early opening of New Zealand’s border and a simplification of immigration settings, to address the immediate skill shortages in New Zealand and speed up the economic recovery from COVID-19.

  • Border fully open two months early from 11:59pm 31 July
  • Significantly simplified immigration processes that provide faster processing for businesses
  • New Green List that includes over 85 hard to fill roles created to attract and retain high-skilled workers to fill skill shortages
  • Green List will provide a streamlined and prioritised pathway to residency incentivising high skilled healthcare, engineers, trade and tech-sector workers to relocate to New Zealand long term
  • Visa extensions for around 20,000 migrants already in New Zealand to ensure skilled workers stay in-country
  • New sector-specific agreements, to help industries transition from a reliance on low-wage, low skill migrant labour, including additional measures to support the rebuild of our tourism sector
  • Cruise ships are able to return with the opening of the maritime border from 31 July
  • Full resumption of international education from 31 July
  • Apprenticeship Boost extended to the end of 2023, supporting an extra 38,000 New Zealanders in trades
  • Online visitor visa applications reopen to Pacific Island Forum countries (excluding Australia) from 16 May

The Government has also announced new rebalanced immigration settings which will help businesses access the key skills they need while ensuring wages and working conditions are improved for everyone.

The Green List

The new Green List will incentivise and attract high skilled migrants to New Zealand, by providing a new streamlined pathway to residency for those globally hard to fill roles. The list features 85 hard to fill roles including construction engineering, trades, health workers and tech.

Through the Accredited Employer Work Visa, employers won’t need to provide as much information and can use their own recruitment processes to prove no New Zealanders are available for work, and Immigration New Zealand will endeavour to have these visas processed within 30 days once an employer is accredited.

The Green List is shorter and more focused than the Regional Skills Shortage List. Many (but not all)
of the roles on the Long-Term Skills Shortage List are on the Green List.

The Green List provides two pathways for residence – a fast track or work to residence path. Eligible
migrants working in these occupations or who are paid twice the median wage will have clear
pathways to residence.

A review is underway of the Skilled Migrant Category. This pathway will be reopened later in 2022
after applications for the 2021 Resident Visa close on 31 July.

The existing skills shortage lists will be replaced by the new Green List. This means any roles that are
currently on a skills shortage list, but not on the Green List won’t be exempt from a labour market
test unless they pay at least 200% of the median wage.

The Fast Tracked ‘Straight to Residence’ pathway

Eligible migrants employed in these occupations can come to New Zealand on a work visa from 4
July and apply for residence from September 2022. From September residence can also be applied
for directly from offshore.

Minimum salary requirements apply where specified, and these will be indexed to the median wage and change over time.

Engineering and Construction Occupations on the list include:


Construction Project Manager
Project Builder
Quantity Surveyor
Surveyor
Chemical Engineer
Civil Engineering Technician
Civil Engineer
Electrical Engineer
Electronics Engineer
Electrical Engineering Technician
Electronic Engineering Technician
Environmental Engineer
Geotechnical Engineer
Industrial Engineer
Materials Engineer
Mechanical Engineer
Production or Plant Engineer
Structural Engineer
Engineering Professionals (Not Elsewhere
Classified)
Telecommunications Engineers
Telecommunications Network Engineers

To view more information about The Green List follow this link

More information:

Source: New Zealand Government Media Release

Source: Immigration New Zealand

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