Senior officials of Immigration New Zealand and not those of the Ministry of Economic Development will be processing visa applications for the newly announced exceptions for “other critical workers (previously called as “other essential workers”). 

A media spokesperson for the Immigration New Zealand has confirmed this to the Indian Weekender a short while ago. 

Notably, a joint press release from the office of the Minister of Economic Development, Phil Twyford and Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway on Friday, June 12 had announced the government’s new border management plan under the lead agency of Ministry of Economic Development, which raised some doubts if the visa application would be assessed by that department. 

Putting that doubt to rest, a media spokesperson of the INZ told the Indian Weekender, “Requests for ‘other critical workers’ (previously referred to as ‘other essential workers’) will now be considered by senior immigration officials within Immigration, instead of by the Minister for Economic Development and relevant portfolio Ministers.

In addition to the change in process, the Government has also agreed to a new set of specific criteria, based on how long the worker will be in New Zealand, which will be used by INZ for determining whether someone is a critical worker.

A worker coming to New Zealand for a short-term (less than six months) may be considered a critical worker if:

·        the person has unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not obtainable in New Zealand; or

·        the person is undertaking a time-critical role which is essential for the delivery of an approved major infrastructure project, a government approved event, an approved major government programme, an approved government-to-government agreement or has significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy.


A worker coming to New Zealand for the long-term (more than six months) may be considered a critical worker if they meet one of the short-term criteria above and:

·        will work for at least 30 hours per week and be paid at least twice the median wage ($106, 080 per year); or

·        has a role that is essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a fully or partially government-funded contract, including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and has the support of MBIE’s Science, Innovation and International branch to travel to New Zealand to carry out their work; or

·        is undertaking a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of a government-approved event, a major government-approved programme or an approved major infrastructure project.


Major government-approved programmes

  • Rocket Lab launches

Government-approved events

  • BWF Junior World Championships (Badminton)

  • ICC Women’s World Cup

  • New Zealand Golf Open

  • 36th America’s Cup

  • ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships

  • Crankworx Rotorua

  • IronMan 70.3 World Championship 2020

  • The Pioneer

  • Winter Games

  • Rugby World Cup (Women's)

  • WSL Challenger Series Piha Pro

  • XVI WSBC Men’s Softball World Championship

  • Ocean Race 2022

  • FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

Government-to-government agreements

  • The Antarctic Programme

Approved major infrastructure projects

  • New Dunedin Hospital Campus - Southern DHB

  • City Centre to Mangere Light Rail Auckland

  • Central Interceptor Programme - Western Springs to Mangere

  • Mill Road - Northern Southern and Papakura Sections

  • Elective Capacity and Inpatient Beds and Supporting Infrastructure - Waitemata DHB

  • Capability of Airfield Infrastructure

  • Investment in Horizontal Infrastructure

  • Redevelopment of Scott Base - Antarctica

  • Auckland Metro Rail Network Programme - Accelerated Renewals

  • North Auckland Line - Northland

  • Rolling Stock Procurement Project - Stage 1 - Wagon Fleet

  • Wellington Metro Rail Network Programme - Stage 4 - Network Capacity Improvements

  • Manawatu Road Maintenance Programme

  • Laboratory and Biocontainment Greenhouse New Build and Relocation - Tamaki

  • Low Cost Low Risk Road Improvements across New Zealand

  • Totara Road Wastewater Treatment Plant Consent Renewal Upgrade

  • Adams Building Replacement Build and Precinct Enabler

  • Dental School Redevelopment

  • University of Otago - Christchurch Health Science Campus Redevelopment - Stage 1

  • Construction of New Gravity Tunnel - Whenuapai and Redhills

  • Huia 1 and Nihotupu 1 Watermain Replacement

  • New Watermain Connecting Woodlands Park Reservoirs to Greenhithe Bridge

  • Pump Station and Rising Main Upgrade - Stanmore

  • Upgrade of Huia Water Treatment Plant

  • Upgrade of the Waiuku Wastewater Treatment Plant and Wastewater Servicing