Doctors, nurses, midwives eager for straight-to-residence visas

From yesterday, they moved onto the Green List of those able to apply for residency straight away rather than having to work here for two years first.

But some worried the cost could get in the way.

American gastroenterologist Wesley Kasen is starting a new job in Hastings in February, moving from Colorado with his wife and two kids.

New Zealand's more stable political climate and beautiful outdoors lifestyle was a big drawcard.

Even though he was coming anyway, uprooting his family and leaving a great job and community was a huge deal and the chance to lock down residency earlier was a relief, he said.

"One of the important things for me is making sure that my kids and my wife ... feel like this home, this is our new home and we're not just here temporarily," he said.

The increased certainty about gaining residence would likely make a big difference to others considering moving, he said.

Other New Zealand-bound health workers contacted by RNZ said they were also keen to apply straight away.

But midwife Bella Wensveen, who moved to Auckland from the Netherlands in June on a three-year visa, said she was holding off because the $4920 fee was too much.

Cutting that would probably encourage more workers to come, especially nurses and midwives who did not earn as much as doctors, she said

"I don't think that people have that lying around in general especially if you are going to move overseas - it's all really expensive," she said.

The fee was $4000 for Pacific nationals.

Medical recruiter Prudence Thomson wanted to see the cost cut too, saying it could be a particular barrier for young nurses or those coming from countries with a weaker currency.

But she was generally delighted with the change which had sparked huge interest from overseas and also from employers, she said.

"It'll be easier for them to employ people because people know it's easier for them to come to New Zealand with residency," she said.

Some of her clients were already already filling out their application forms.

Next, she wanted the government to include physios, anaesthetic technicians and social workers on the list.

RNZ asked Immigration New Zealand to gauge interest on day one of the changes but it said it could not do that yet - even anecdotally.

It was not sure how long each visa would take to process but said care was needed because a lot was at stake.

Radio New Zealand, RNZ, Rowan Quinn, Health Correspondent
December 15, 2022