Critical Workers in New Zealand

Border exceptions for Critical Workers - Travel for a critical purpose - Request to travel - Critical Purpose Visitor Visas

To ensure that vital services can still be provided while the New Zealand border is effectively still closed, professionals in the healthcare sector and other professionals can be allowed to travel to New Zealand as temporary visa holders.

The process of obtaining a border exception is complex.

The two Critical Worker categories

There are two distinctively different categories of professionals who are deemed crucial for New Zealand's wellbeing and therefore potentially eligible for a border exeption:

  • Critical Health Workers  
  • 'Other Critical Workers'

Critical Health Workers

There is ongoing high demand for Health Workers in New Zealand.

The health system in New Zealand is largely dependent on Skilled Migrants to fill critical roles and according to the Medical Council of New Zealand more than 40% of doctors practising in New Zealand undertook their training overseas.

The Medical Council is seeing an influx of Medical Professionals processing their Professional Registration to practice in New Zealand, due to the worldwide Covid-19 outbreak and New Zealand being considered a relatively safe haven.

Read more: What is a 'Critical Health Worker'?

'Other Critical Workers'

The original policy stipulated that only applicants with a "unique" professional background were eligible for a border exemption. In practice Immigration New Zealand only accepted this requirement to be met in a very small number of cases.

There are now exciting news: As of the 14th of March 2022 the initially very restrictive criteria of this policy have been lifted.  

To be eligible as an 'other critical worker', you are no longer required to demonstrate that you have unique experience and a technical or specialist skill set.

You also do not have to demonstrate any longer that your skills are not readily available in New Zealand.

This will make it considerably easier for skilled workers now to be granted an 'other critical worker' border exception.

Your are now eligible if you earn at least 1.5 times the median wage (NZ$84,240 a year or NZ$40.50 an our) for roles longer than 6 months.

If you have a professional background and a New Zealand offer of Skilled Employment with a pay of 1.5 times the median wage, you may qualify for this exception and speed up your arrival in New Zealand.

Our Accelerate Program for Critical Workers

At NZIC we have developed our high priority Accelerate Program, specifically tailored to facilitate a swift move to New Zealand for Critical Workers.

Critical Workers can find a job, obtain the necessary visa and come to New Zealand now.

Icon of our accelerate program

Can you apply for a Critical Worker Visa?

Unfortunately the process of applying for an entry exemption is not as straight forward as just submitting a visa application.

How to request permission to travel to New Zealand

To begin with a request for a critical worker border exemption has to be lodged.

If you are a Critical Health worker

If you are a Critical Health worker, you must first submit an expression of interest.

In your expression of interest you may express an interest in applying for a visa to travel to New Zealand.

Provide in your request

  • as much information as possible about the reason you want to travel to New Zealand
  • the full details of your partner or children if they are included in your request to travel.

An immigration officer may subsequently invite you to apply for a Critical Purpose visitor visa,  if they are satisfied that you meet all the requirements for a border exeption.

At this stage you can submit your Critical Purpose Visitor Visa application.

If you are an 'Other Critical Worker'

If you are coming to New Zealand as an 'other critical worker' then your employer or other supporting agency must submit the request for critical worker exception.

If you are invited to apply for a visa on the basis of having been determined to be a ‘critical health worker’or an ‘other critical worker’ you may be required to provide a copy of the employment agreement or offer of employment for the role.

Join us in our Immigration and Job Hunt Webinar to hear from our Principal Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr. Carsten Hallwass whether you might be able to expedite your move to New Zealand as Critical Worker.

Join our popular Immigration & Job Hunt Webinar!

Everything you need to know about migrating to New Zealand as a Skilled Migrant.

register your interest

Watch our Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr. Carsten Hallwass as he explains the process of migrating to New Zealand as a skilled migrant in a straight forward and easy to understand manner:

Following this detailed overview, you will have a chance to ask questions and also hear answers to questions put forward by fellow participants of the webinar.

By the end of the webinar you will have a good understanding of the immigration process and know how you can get started.

You will feel empowered to make a solid decision on your move to New Zealand!

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