What is a Critical Health Worker?

A critical health worker is a person who will work in an occupation needed to deliver critical health services in New Zealand.

Occupations needed to deliver critical health services in New Zealand are:

  1. registered health practitioners as set out in the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003; or
  2. a worker who installs, operates or maintains medical equipment; or
  3. paramedics and ambulance workers (including air and road); or
  4. physician associates; or
  5. technical and support staff working in:
  • theatre
  • laboratory
  • radiology
  • pharmacy services
  • cardiology blood service
  • nuclear medicine
  • oncology
  • haematology
  • pathology
  • hyperbaric medicine
  • mortuary
  1. research staff; or
  2. workers delivering mental health and addictions services, aged care, respite, home care and support, child health, palliative and hospice care, forensic health, and disability support.

Who are the main employers of Critical Health Workers?

Critical health workers may work in one or more of the following:

  • a District Health Board;
  • the New Zealand Blood Service;
  • a hospice or palliative care provider;
  • a primary care practice such as urgent care or a medical or healthcare centre;
  • an aged residential care, respite or continuing care facility, including care in a person’s home or community facility;
  • a government or Non-Government Organisation delivering health and disability services;
  • organisations that provide, operate and maintain medical equipment;
  • private employers delivering health and disability services.

Internationally qualified nurses are also considered to be critical health workers where they:

  • are invited to come to New Zealand by the Nursing Council of New Zealand, and
  • are enrolled in a Competence Assessment Programme.

Workers in an occupation that is indirectly related to the provision of health services, or corporate functions such as (but not limited to) human resources, office administration or property maintenance are not considered critical health workers.

Visas for partners or dependent children of critical health workers

Any partners or dependent children of critical health workers who have been granted a visa or a variation of conditions on the basis of this critical purpose, may be granted a visa to travel to New Zealand together with, or separately from, the critical health worker.

When considering whether a person is a critical health worker, an immigration officer may request evidence of the person’s qualifications or registration.

An immigration officer may request the critical health worker to provide evidence of an offer of employment.

Read more about character:

Read more Visa FAQ's:

Which Visa is Right for You?

Read more about the Points System:

Read more about health:

Read more about Critical Workers:

The Skill Shortage Lists

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