Critical Workers in New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand has released a visa policy for professionals in the healthcare sector and for other professionals who are deemed crucial for New Zealand's wellbeing.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that vital services can still be provided during the Covid-19 crisis.

Critical Workers can expedite their visa process considerably and will be able to enter New Zealand now, while the borders are still closed to most migrants.

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, while the borders are still closed for most migrants.

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Can you apply for a Critical Worker Visa?

If you have the necessary professional background to be deemed a Critical Worker, you might qualify for this exceptional visa and may be able to speed up your arrival in New Zealand.

There are two Critical Worker categories:

  • Critical Health Workers, and
  • Other Critical Workers

Critical Health Workers

‘Critical Health Workers are registered health practitioners as set out in the health practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003’.

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.

'Other Critical Workers'

To qualify as an 'other critical worker', you must have an offer of skilled employment for a role that requires your unique experience and technical or specialist skill set and those skills must not be readily available in New Zealand.

The three categories under which you can be accepted as an 'other critical worker' are based on whether it is for

  • a short term role,
  • a long term role, or
  • an approved class of worker.

Criteria for Short Term Critical Workers

(For less than 6 months in total)
Short term Critical Workers are undertaking a time-critical role for work which brings significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy.

This can include contributing to an approved major infrastructure project or a government-approved programme.

If you have found an employment position in New Zealand to work on a critical project that is expected to be completed in less than six months, you may qualify to be a short term Critical Worker.

Short Term Critical Workers must:
  • Have unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand, or
  • Be undertaking a time-critical role for:
  • The delivery of an approved major infrastructure project, or
  • A government approved event or a major government-approved programme
  • An approved government-to-government agreement
  • Work that brings significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy.
Skills are considered not readily obtainable if there are no workers in New Zealand who can do the role, or there is a very limited pool of available workers who can do the role and they are not available to the employer.

Examples of workers meeting this standard may include:
  • Some highly specialist veterinarians
  • Vendor-appointed engineers required to install major equipment
  • Actor in a key film role

Criteria for Long Term Critical Workers

(For more than 6 months)
Applicants must meet one of the criteria for short term workers and:
  • Earn at least twice the median salary (currently NZD $106,080 a year), or
  • Have a role that is essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a government funded or partially government-funded contract, including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and has the support of the Science, Innovation and International Branch at MBIE to travel to New Zealand to carry out their work, or
  • Are undertaking a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of a government-approved event, or a major government-approved programme, or an approved major infrastructure project.

Criteria for Approved Classes of Workers

A professional coming to New Zealand may be considered an ‘other critical worker’ if they:
  • Are in a class of worker approved by Ministers
  • Have been nominated by an authorised government agency or an industry group – a list of nominated workers will be provided to Immigration New Zealand.

Please note:

Holding an Essential Skills work visa does not mean that you qualify as an ‘other critical worker’.
An employer requesting to hire skilled workers from outside of New Zealand must meet ‘Labour Market Test’ requirements and demonstrate that they have genuinely attempted to fill the role with New Zealanders.
Requests for short and long-term critical workers are considered on a case-by-case basis by senior Immigration New Zealand officials.

Do you want to apply as a Critical Worker?

If you are a Medical Professional interested in working in New Zealand, or if you have unique experience and skills that are critical right now, you will benefit from our Accelerate Program, specifically targeted to meet the requirements of the Critical Worker policy.

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

Join our popular Immigration & Job Hunt Webinar!

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What do our Immigration and Job Hunt Webinars cover?

We will explain the process of migrating to New Zealand as a skilled migrant, and every step involved on the way.

  • Our Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr. Carsten Hallwass will cover all aspects of the formal visa application process, including the pathway to becoming a resident in New Zealand under the Skilled Migrant Category.
  • We will cover the possible timing of your move to New Zealand, especially in light of Covid related border restrictions: How soon can you move to New Zealand?
  • You will find out how our Job Seeker Program will provide you with the deciding boost for your job search.
  • You will learn how our Fusion Service will empower you to overcome the Catch 22 dilemma.
  • You will hear about our Accelerate Program and how it will expedite your process and allow you to arrive in New Zealand sooner.
  • We will introduce you to the New 2021 Resident Visa and explain its eligibility criteria.
  • We will explain the relevance of the unique opportunities the New 2021 Resident Visa for work visa holders.
  • We will cover Critical Workers, a highly relevant topic in many aspects.
  • Following this detailed overview, you will have a chance to ask our immigration expert advisors 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, know how you can get started and all further steps involved.

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

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