Minister of Immigration Michael Wood has announced three new skilled residence pathways for temporary migrants after having completed two years of acceptable work in New Zealand.

The three pathways are Straight to residence, Work to residence, highly paid - 'twice the median wage’.

The Straight to residence pathway will be ready for people to apply for from 5 September 2022, while work to Residence and Highly Paid pathways will be available for people to apply in September 2023.

This was announced just now by the Minister of Immigration Michael Wood.

“From 5 September, skilled workers in specified occupations will be able to apply for the Straight to Residence pathway. Skilled migrants on the ‘Work to Residence’ and ‘Highly Paid’ resident pathways will be able to apply from 29 September 2023, once they have obtained 24 months of acceptable work in New Zealand,” Minister Wood said.

All three categories are linked with the recently announced Green List that fast tracks temporary migrants’ entry into the country and eventual gaining of residency rights.

Straight to Residence and Work to Residence Pathways

The main requirement for both Green List pathways is the need to have a job in, or job offer for, one of the Green List occupations and meet the specified requirements on the list for the said occupation.

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

·         The Straight to Residence visa provides a straight to residence pathway. Eligible migrants employed in these occupations can come to New Zealand on a work visa from 4 July and apply for residence from 5 September 2022. From 5 September 2022 residence can also be applied for directly from offshore.


·         Contractors are eligible for the Green List Straight to Residence pathway, provided applicants meet some additional criteria.

·         The Work to Residence visa differs as the applicant must also demonstrate they have at least 24 months of acceptable work in New Zealand. Acceptable work means having worked in an occupation on the Green List and meeting the specified requirements for that occupation for the duration of the 24 month period. This work in New Zealand can only be claimed on or after 29 September 2021. Work must be on an AEWV unless the person had commenced work on another visa before 4 July 2022.

Highly Paid Resident Pathways

·         The Highly Paid resident pathway was created to provide a pathway to residence for people who were paid at least two times the median wage (currently $55.52 per hour) over a 24-month period while working in New Zealand.

·         Similar to the Work to Residence work experience requirements, the principal applicant must demonstrate they have at least 24 months of acceptable work in New Zealand. Acceptable work means having earned at or above two times the median wage for at least 24 months.

·         This work in New Zealand can only be claimed on or after 29 September 2021. This aligns with the 2021 Resident Visa and ensures that the small number of people who do not qualify for this can still have some work in New Zealand recognised.

·         The two times median wage amount will be updated annually in February based on the June quarter median hourly earnings from wages and salaries as published by Statistics New Zealand.

The application fee and levy will be between $4,020 and $4,890 depending on whether the applicant is applying from within New Zealand or another part of the world. This fee is aligned with the fee for the Skilled Migrant Category.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for these pathways, people must meet the following requirements:

·         are aged 55 or younger at the time the resident visa application is made (aligned to the Skilled Migrant Category age limit);

·         principal applicants and partners need to meet the English language requirements set out in the Skilled Migrant Category at the time the resident visa application is made;

·         meet standard health and character requirements for residence

  • the employer must be accredited at the time the resident visa is applied for
  • a person holding an Accredited Employer Work Visa in an eligible occupation will still need to meet the health and character requirements (for them and their family) for residence which are different from the requirements for temporary work visas.