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Pathways to Immigration for Healthcare Workers

New Zealand presents excellent prospects for healthcare workers and medical professionals, offering various visa options for temporary and permanent immigration. With a significant shortage of healthcare professionals in the country, numerous opportunities await in the healthcare sector.

Occupational Registration – Visitor Visa

In cases where overseas healthcare/medical professionals cannot obtain direct registration in their home country, they have the option to travel to New Zealand to undergo the registration process. This is a common route for qualified nurses who often need to participate in a Competency Assessment Program (CAP) course in New Zealand before being granted their registration. By obtaining a visitor visa, they can complete the registration process.

Occupational registration is a mandatory requirement for many healthcare roles. Once professionals obtain occupational registration through the appropriate boards, they can apply for a work/residence visa, provided they have a job offer in New Zealand for their desired position.

Accredited Employer Work Visa (Temporary Visa)

The primary type of temporary work visa in New Zealand is available to individuals who have received a job offer from an Accredited New Zealand employer and have been issued an approved job token. The employer is responsible for conducting a job check to obtain the job token, which allows the applicant to proceed with the visa application.

While most occupations require the job offer to be at or above the median wage (current median wage is NZD $29.66), certain roles, such as care workers, are exempt from this requirement. Care workers can be paid at least NZD $26.16 per hour or higher, which is aligned with the Ministry of Health’s support worker’s minimum wage rates at level 3. This wage rate may be adjusted over time in response to changes by the Ministry of Health or fluctuations in the median wage.

Work To Residence – Care Workforce (Resident Visa)

Care industry roles that do not necessitate occupational registration also offer a pathway to residence for eligible individuals. This pathway is available to care workers who earn at least NZD $28.25 per hour (level 4) as per the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Act 2017.

After completing 24 months on an Accredited Employer work visa and consistently earning NZD $28.25 or higher during that period, care workers become eligible to apply for a work-to-residence application.

Straight to Residence: Registered Medical Professionals (Resident Visa)

There are certain occupations in the health field that can apply straight for residence. These occupations include but are not limited to:

  • Ambulance Paramedic
  • Anaesthetist
  • Anaesthetic Technician
  • Audiologist
  • Cardiologist
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Dentist
  • Dental Technician
  • Endocrinologist
  • Enrolled Nurse (Nursing Assistant)
  • Registered Nurse
  • Medical Imaging Technologist
  • Neurologist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Resident Medical Officer
  • AND many more health positions (full list can be found here)

If an individual meets the criteria outlined on the green list, including holding the necessary occupational registration, they can apply directly for residence. The application for residence can be made either from outside New Zealand or while residing in New Zealand. This provides greater certainty for professionals in those occupations, allowing them to come to New Zealand and establish a long-term future in the country.

If you are considering moving to New Zealand, contact one of our licensed immigration advisors here at Woburn, and we’ll provide you with all the information and support that you need to realise your dream of emigrating to this amazing country.

Contact us to find out how we can help you move to New Zealand

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