New skilled residence categories: Green List, Highly Paid pathway eligibility criteria
Updated: Jul 28
Three new residence visa categories are being introduced as part of the government’s rebalancing of the immigration system:
Two Green List pathways: Straight to Residence (StR) and Work to Residence (WtR)
These residence pathways are designed to attract and retain highly skilled migrant workers.
Applicants must meet the following requirements when they apply for their resident visa:
be 55 years old or younger
be able to meet the Skilled Migrant Category English language requirements,
be able to meet standard health and character requirements for residence, and
have or have been offered a job with an accredited employer.
To be eligible, Green List pathway applicants must:
have or have been offered a full-time role (at least 30 hours a week),
have or have been offered a Green List job, and
meet the requirements of that Green List job.
Straight to Residence
Employment or offer of employment must:
be for at least 12 months, or,
be a contract or contracts for services totalling at least six months.
Contractors are eligible for the Green List StR pathway but must meet some additional criteria when applying.
StR applicants can come to New Zealand on a work visa now and apply for residence from 5 September 2022, or they can apply from outside of New Zealand.
Work to Residence
To be eligible, WtR applicants must demonstrate they have had acceptable work for at least 24 months in the 30-month period before the resident visa application is made. This can be accrued from 29 September 2021.
Acceptable work means having worked in an occupation on the Green List and meeting the specified requirements for that occupation for the 24-month period.
Applications open from September 2023.
Highly Paid pathway
To be eligible, Highly Paid pathway applicants must demonstrate they have had acceptable work for at least 24 months in the 30-month period before the resident visa application is made. This can be accrued from 29 September 2021.
Acceptable work means having earned at or above two times the median wage for at least 24 months.
The median wage will be updated in February based on information from Statistics New Zealand.
Applications open September 2023.
Work in NZ
Work in New Zealand for the WtR and the Highly Paid pathways can be combined and claimed from 29 September 2021.
This date aligns with eligibility criteria for the 2021 Resident Visa. It ensures that work experience of those who do not qualify for the 2021 Resident Visa can be recognised if they have subsequently moved on to a work visa.
New residence category fees
New prices from 31 July 2022:
Band A (NZ): NZD NZD $4290
Band B (Pacific): NZD $4020
Band C (rest of world): NZD $4890.
Prices above include Goods and Services Tax (GST) and exclude the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL).