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Green List New Zealand

October 8, 2023
Iain MacLeod

The Green List comprises hard-to-fill, high-skill roles that offer a priority pathway to residency as part of the government’s border reopening and immigration changes. With the introduction of a new fast-tracked ‘Straight to Residence’ pathway, individuals working in any of the Green List occupations and holding a job offer from an accredited employer can apply for residence in New Zealand (or offshore), provided they meet the necessary criteria. Our guide provides insight into the Green List criteria and offers tips to enhance the chances of a successful application.

What is the NZ Immigration Green List?

The NZ Immigration Green List is a compilation of occupations that offer a fast-track to residence or a work-to-residence pathway. The list comprises various job categories, including healthcare professionals, veterinarians, engineers, and ICT specialists. Some of these positions may require a minimum salary, which will be linked to the median wage, with higher pay for certain roles.

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What occupations are included in the NZ immigration Green List?

The NZ immigration Green List comprises approximately 130 challenging-to-fill positions in sectors such as construction, engineering, trades, health, and tech.

It’s important to note that some roles require working in New Zealand for two years before applying for residence via the Work to Residence pathway.

For those seeking residence via securing a job (offer) that appears on the list you need to
remember, and be aware, that it could be:

  • Straight to residence – meaning with the job offer you can apply for a resident visa immediately; or
  • Work to Residence – meaning with a job offer you must first work in New Zealand for two years.

Green List Criteria

To be eligible for a work visa under the Green List, an overseas applicant must possess a job offer that aligns with the occupation’s description or requirements. Additionally, they must provide evidence that their overseas qualification meets the comparable New Zealand qualification standard for the occupation if a qualification is required for that occupation

It’s crucial to note that the Green List is a narrowly defined list, and matching a job title alone is insufficient. Employers must be accredited to offer a candidate a job role.

All specific qualification criteria outlined on the Green List are based on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), unless otherwise specified. To qualify under this framework, applicants must either obtain a New Zealand Qualifications Authority assessment of their qualification or possess a qualification on the list of qualifications exempt from assessment.

Green List Application Process

Migrants who meet the eligibility criteria for a visa via the Green List, such as possessing qualifications that align with the comparable New Zealand qualification standard for their occupation and having a job offer from an accredited employer, can apply for a work visa starting from July 4th, 2022.

If their occupation is on the direct to residence section of the Green List, they can also apply for residence from September 2022. For those on the Work to Residence pathway in the Green List, they can seek an AEWV in July 2022 but must complete two years of work before applying for residence.

Immigration New Zealand regularly updates and adds to the list of eligible occupations. Therefore, it’s essential to check if your occupation is included in the list.

The application process is entirely online.

For assistance with an application, Immagine can be contacted for an assessment of an applicant’s qualifications and job description to determine if they meet the requirements. If the applicant has a job offer, Immagine can also assess their eligibility for the Green List and inform them of their partner’s status. If they are not eligible for the Green List, Immagine can provide information on other visa options available to them.

Green List Application Fees

The application fee and immigration levy range from NZD $4,020 to NZD $4,890, depending on the applicant’s location.

Band A (NZ): NZD $4290
Band B (Pacific): NZD $4020
Band C (rest of world): NZD $4890.

It’s important to note that these fees may include Goods and Services Tax (GST) but exclude the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL).

Accredited Employers – How to Find One?

Only accredited employers are authorized to recruit migrant workers from overseas and offer them job opportunities.

Currently, there is no comprehensive list of all accredited employers in New Zealand, and there is no obligation to register on a public list.

If you’re interested in applying for a job, you can inquire whether the employer is an accredited employer and if they have completed a job check for the advertised role. In our experience, employers who are genuinely interested in hiring offshore candidates should be familiar with and actively involved in the process.

Green List Visa Processing Time

According to the NZ government, applications will be processed within 30 days after an employer is accredited. That is, uless you require a National Security Check in which case it will take around 12 months. If you’re an employer seeking accreditation, we recommend allowing at least a month to prepare your application. Accreditation is a prerequisite for hiring new migrant workers or applying for new work visas for existing migrant employees.

If you need assistance with the accreditation process, you can contact Immagine at any time.

Potential Pitfalls in the Application Process

Migrants may face obstacles with the Green List due to its narrow definition. One potential issue is if their qualifications fail to meet the comparable New Zealand qualification standard for their occupation or the job description requirements, rendering them ineligible.

Employers may also encounter difficulties if the job description does not closely match the role’s description used by INZ, leading to the applicant failing to meet the requirements and being unable to be hired via the Green List.

To avoid either of these problems, it’s advisable to consult with the team at Immagine. They can assist in evaluating an applicant’s qualifications against New Zealand standards, the job description, and job offer to ensure that all requirements are met for the worker to qualify for the Green List before accepting the role.



Iain MacLeod

Iain has been working as an Immigration Adviser since 1988 and has been running his own practice since 1990. In 1998 he merged his practice with Myer Lipschitz leading to the creation of Protea Pacific Limited which was rebranded in 2008 to IMMagine New Zealand Limited...

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    1. Post

      No it isn’t but that does not mean you are not employable or will not qualify for residence all other things being equal.

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