Green List and highly paid skilled residence categories

Eligibility criteria for the straight to residence, work to residence and highly paid skilled residence categories.

There are general application requirements for the Straight to Residence, Work to Residence and Highly Paid Residence Visas. These are that on the date you apply for your residence visa:

  • you are aged 55 or younger
  • you, and if applicable your partner, and dependent children aged 16 or over, meet the English language requirements
  • you and your partner, and dependent children in your application meet health and character requirements for residence.

If you hold an Accredited Employer Work Visa or another type of work visa, you (and any family if applicable) still need to meet the health and character requirements for residence. These are different from the requirements for temporary work visas.

At the time you apply you must be working for an accredited employer.

Accredited employers and AEWV

Health requirements for residence visa categories

Character requirements for residence visa categories

Acceptable English language results and visa categories

Straight to Residence Visa

To be eligible for this residence visa you must be employed by, or hold a job offer from, an accredited employer.

  • Your role must be under tier 1 of the Green List.
  • You must meet the specified requirements on the list for your role.
  • Your role must be full-time (at least 30 hours a week), genuine, and permanent, or be at least a 12-month fixed term contract. Under certain circumstances independent contractors are also eligible. 

Contracting and eligibility

To be eligible under the Straight to Residence pathway as a contractor you must meet these requirements:

  • Your contract or contracts for services total at least 6 months. Shorter contracts must be consecutive without any breaks between them.
  • If your role has a wage threshold as the skill requirement (as set out under tier 1 of the Green List) you will need 10 years' relevant experience and also meet the higher wage threshold. This is set at 50% more than the wage threshold for applicants with permanent or fixed term employment.

Roles with a wage threshold as the skill requirement include Chief Information Officer, ICT Project Manager, ICT Managers not elsewhere classified, Software Engineer, ICT Security Specialist, and Multimedia Specialist.

You can apply for this residence visa from 5 September 2022. 

You can either come to New Zealand on a work visa now and apply for residence from 5 September 2022, or apply from outside of New Zealand 

Green List occupations and qualification requirements

Work to Residence Visa

To be eligible for this residence visa you must:

  • be employed in a role under tier 2 of the Green List or hold an offer of employment for one
  • meet the specified requirements on the list for the role
  • have worked for 24 months in New Zealand in the role (and meet the specified its requirements) under tier 2 of the Green List.

Your employer must be accredited when you apply for this visa.

Employment criteria

The employment or offer of employment must be full-time (at least 30 hours a week), genuine, and permanent, or be at least a 12-month fixed term contract. 

Acceptable work in New Zealand 

Acceptable work in New Zealand can be counted towards a Work to Residence Visa while you hold or held:

  • an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)
  • another work visa or a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa (with work conditions) that was held or applied before 4 July 2022.

Acceptable work in New Zealand can be counted from 29 September 2021.

There can be small breaks in your employment. But you must still show you worked for the required 24 months within the 30 month period before your visa application date. 

You can mix acceptable work criteria, such as a role under tier 2 of the Green List and also any work earning twice the median wage. 

You can apply for this visa from September 2023. 

Green List occupations and qualification requirements

Highly Paid Residence Visa

To be eligible for this residence visa you must have:

  • employment or an offer of employment in a role that is paid at least twice the median wage (currently NZD $55.52 an hour)
  • been working for 24 months in New Zealand in a role that paid at least twice the median wage.

Your employer must also be accredited when you apply for this visa.

Acceptable work in New Zealand

Acceptable work in New Zealand can be counted towards a Highly Paid Residence Visa if you hold or held:

  • an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)
  • another work visa or a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa (with work conditions) that was held or applied before 4 July 2022.

Acceptable work in New Zealand can be counted from 29 September 2021. 

There can be small breaks in your employment. But you must still show you worked for the required 24 months within the 30 month period before your visa application date. 

You can mix acceptable work criteria, such as working in a role under Tier 2 of the Green List and also any work earning 2 times the median wage.

You can apply for this visa from September 2023. 

Application fees

The application fee and immigration levy will be between NZD $4,020 and NZD $4,890 depending on whether you are applying from within New Zealand or another part of the world.