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New residence categories announced

Following the Immigration Rebalance announcement in May, today the Government has announced details of three new residence categories that will make it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for specified high skilled, hard-to-fill occupations.

The three new residence categories are ‘Straight to Residence’, ‘Work to Residence’, and ‘Highly Paid’.

The Straight to Residence and Work to Residence relate to the respective Green List occupations, which allow employers to complete a Job Check for the Accredited Employer Work Visa without proof of advertising as long as the minimum requirements for the role at least match the minimum requirements. The new Highly Paid resident visa is for those earning twice the median wage.

The Straight to Residence pathway will be ready for people to apply for from 5 September 2022.

The Work to Residence and Highly Paid pathways require people to have worked for 24 months and will be available for people to apply for from 29 September 2023.

This work in New Zealand can be counted two years from 29 September 2021, which aligns with the 2021 Resident Visa eligibility date and ensures that the small number of people who do not qualify for the 2021 Resident Visa can still have some work in New Zealand recognised through these two new pathways. 


Eligibility criteria

These new visas are not the only pathway to skilled residence. They are intended to complement the Skilled Migrant Category with the same health, age and character requirements but a different, more straightforward application process. The Skilled Migrant Category is currently suspended while the Government works through advice as part of the Immigration Rebalance.

For detailed information on the eligibility criteria for these new residence visas, please visit:

Green List and highly paid residence categories

Link:, dated March 16, 2023 4:17 am

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