[Updated] New Zealand: Three New Residence Categories Announced

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

This article was originally published on 27 July 2022 and was updated on 9 September 2022 to reflect new information.  

9 September 2022 Update: The government of New Zealand officially launched the Straight to Residence permanent residence pathway on 5 September 2022. Eligible applicants must hold a position listed under New Zealand’s Green List and hold all qualification requirements expected of the role. In addition, the applicant must be employed full-time (at least 30 hours a week) or hold a role under a 12-month fixed term contract. For additional information on eligibility requirements, check here. According to the government announcement, this new permanent residence pathway will help relieve workforce shortages throughout the country.  

Key Points 

  • On 27 July 2022, the government of New Zealand announced three new residence categories intended for highly skilled migrants working in hard-to-fill occupations 


The government of New Zealand announced three new residence categories aimed at attracting migrants for specific highly skilled, hard-to-fill occupations. These three new applications will include the Straight to Residence category, the Work to Residence category, and the Highly Paid category.   

The Straight to Residence and Work to Residence categories will be designated for foreign nationals currently employed in Green List occupations. Employers will be allowed to complete a Job Check for the Accredited Employer Work Visa without proof of having advertised the position, so long as the employee meets the minimum requirements needed for the role. The Highly Paid resident visa will be designated for those earning twice the median wage in New Zealand.  

Additional qualification requirements for the Work to Residence and Highly Paid pathways include ensuring that the employee has worked for 24 months in New Zealand. The 24-month period will apply to employees who worked from 29 September 2021 onward. This will allow individuals who do not meet the qualification requirements of the 2021 Resident Visa to apply under either of the two new pathways.  

These new residence categories will open for eligible employees on the following dates: 

  • The Straight to Residence: Opens 5 September 2022 
  • The Work to Residence: Opens 29 September 2023  
  • The Highly Paid: Opens 29 September 2023 

For further information on qualification requirements for these three new categories, check here

The Skilled Migrant resident category will be closed to applicants while the government works to refine these three new residence categories.  

What are the Changes?  

The government of New Zealand will introduce three new residence visa categories beginning in September 2022. These categories will be available for highly skilled migrants working in occupations that are difficult to fill in New Zealand.  

Looking Ahead  

The government is expected to release further information on qualification requirements for these three new resident categories in the coming weeks. The Straight to Residence category will open for applications in early September 2022. Continue to check the government of New Zealand’s website and Envoy’s website for the latest updates and information.  

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Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.