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  • Bernhard Kreber

New Zealand Green List Residence Visa Pathways

The Green List of New Zealand visa residence pathways now contains over 180 occupations. These roles cover the construction and engineering sector, health and social service sector, IT sector, and several trades. Occupations on the Green List are highly skilled roles, or roles that are hard to fill and of high national importance in New Zealand. Thus, migrant workers who are trained in, and have experience in a Green List occupation are in demand in New Zealand.

Additional Requirements

It is worth noting that just having an occupation on the Green List alone is not enough. This is because the Green List also specifies current requirements for each occupation. These requirements can be a specified qualification, registration (or membership) with a professional body, or a certain income threshold.


If you meet the specified Green List requirement for your occupation, it will be easier to obtain a New Zealand resident visa, providing you meet other general requirements for residence. These other more generic criteria include good character, good health, English language skills, and being under the age of 55 at the time of visa application.

The Two Tiers of the Green List

The Green List is divided into two tiers. There are over 150 occupations on Tier 1 of the Green List that offer a straight to residence visa pathway. What this means in simple terms is that if you meet the Green List requirement for your occupation, and you have a suitable offer of employment from an accredited employer (or you are already employed by them), then you can apply immediately for residence. Notable professions on Tier 1 of the Green list include:

  • All Health professions (including allied health professions)

  • Counselling professions

  • Engineering professions

Migrant workers who have a Tier 2 Green List occupation (and meet the specified requirements for it) can only apply for residence after they have worked full time for 24 months in New Zealand. The 24-month period starts when the migrant worker meets the current requirement for their Green List occupation. The earliest starting date for the 24-month period is 29 September 2021. Notably, the Tier 2 Green List now includes the following:

  • All Teaching roles

  • Earthmoving Plant Operator

  • Automotive Electrician

  • Diesel Motor Mechanic

  • Electrician

  • Plumber

  • Drainlayer

  • Gasfitter

  • Dairy Farm Managerial roles

Tier 1 Examples

To explain the Green List tier system further, here are three examples of migrants with a Tier 1 occupation, who would be able to apply for a residence visa immediately.

1. If a Physiotherapist holds registration with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand, and has a work offer as a physiotherapist from an accredited employer, or already works as a physiotherapist in New Zealand, they can immediately apply for a Green List Straight to Residence visa.


2. An engineer who has an offer (or current employment) from an accredited employer can immediately apply for a resident visa if they meet one of the following:

  • A Washington Accord accredited (initial) engineering degree.

  • A Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (NZQF Level 8).

  • A qualification at NZQF Level 7 or higher, with an accompanying letter from Engineering New Zealand. This letter must certify that the degree and any further learning meet the benchmark requirements towards Chartered Professional Engineer professional status in New Zealand.

  • NZ registration as a Chartered Professional Engineer by Engineering New Zealand.


3. An auditor can immediately apply for a resident visa if they have an offer (or current employment) from an accredited employer, and they have a remuneration of at least $80,200.64 per annum.

Tier 2 Examples

1. Earthmoving Plant Operators, who earned a minimum of $34.11 per hour on 29 September 2021, can apply for a Green List Work to Residence visa once the 24 months period is completed on 28 September 2023, providing they are still earning a minimum of $34.11 per hour.


2. Other Tier 2 occupations specify qualification as requirement for a Tier 2 occupation. For example, an Automotive Electrician must hold a level 4 qualification that is comparable to a certificate at NZQF Level 4, or a higher qualification. This must include the credit and knowledge requirements of one of the strands of the New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Electrical Engineering (NZQF Level 4).


3. Yet other Tier 2 occupations require occupational registration with a professional body before the migrant worker can legally work in New Zealand. Electricians, plumbers, and teachers are examples of Tier 2 occupations that are regulated by a professional body.

Green List Residence Visa Assistance

Wondering whether you might be eligible for a Green List residence visa pathway? BK Immigration Law NZ are skilled and experienced in assisting migrants with their visa applications. Contact us if you want to find out whether you are eligible for the Green List and what your visa options are for you and your family.




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