Government adds 32 new health sector roles to fast-track residency pathway as winter looms

Government adds 32 new health sector roles to fast-track residency pathway as winter looms
Photo credit: get


The Government has announced 32 new health sector roles are to be added to the Straight to Residence pathway of the Green List to help prepare the health system for the coming winter.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins made the announcement at his regular post-Cabinet press conference at the Beehive Theatrette this afternoon.

Forty health sector roles are being added to the pathway - eight of those were already on the Green List, but would have had to work for two years to attain residence in New Zealand, while the remaining 32 are newly added.

Speaking at a post-Cabinet meeting this after, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said, despite progress in recruiting health workers and in lifting incomes for health workers including through pay equity changes, more work needed to be done to attract workers from overseas.

"It is vital that New Zealand's immigration settings are not seen as an unnecessary barrier to workers wanting to make a life here in New Zealand."

He said the changes announced today reflected the feedback from the health sector.

Hipkins said since the decision in December to put midwives and registered nurses on the straight-to-residence pathway, the goverment had received some 3600 health sector applications including 1400 nurses, 200 doctors and other specialists and 95 GPs.

"In the same period we've seen nearly 3000 health professionals arriving in the country."

"We know that moving countries is one of the biggest decisions anyone can make in their lives and in the lives of their families. With these changers the aim is to provide additional certainty when they're making these decisions that they'll be able to create a permanent home and a great life here in New Zealand."

He said the Green List changes would start to apply from 29 May, about seven weeks away.

The Green List was originally announced in May last year, with 85 hard-to-fill high-skill roles that provides a priority pathway to residency.

Added to Green List, straight-to-residence:

  • Addiction practitioner/alcohol & drug clinician

  • Audiometrist

  • Chiropractor

  • Clinical dental technician

  • Clinical physiologists (sleep, renal, exercise, respiratory, neurology, and cardiac)

  • Counsellor

  • Dental specialists

  • Dental technician

  • Dental therapist

  • Dentist

  • Dietician

  • Dispensing optician

  • Drug and alcohol counsellor

  • Enrolled nurse

  • Genetic counsellor

  • Medical laboratory pre-analytical technician

  • Medical resonance imaging technologist

  • Nuclear medicine technologist

  • Nurse practitioner

  • Optometrist

  • Oral health therapist

  • Orthotic and prosthetic technician

  • Orthotist/prosthetist

  • Osteopath

  • Paramedic/emergency medical technician

  • Perfusionist (cardiac)

  • Pharmacist

  • Physiotherapist

  • Play therapist (hospital)

  • Social worker

  • Speech language therapist

  • Sterile processing technician

Added to Straight to Residence list (previously Work to Residence):

  • Anaesthetic Technician

  • Audiologist

  • Medical imaging technologist

  • Medical laboratory technician

  • Medical radiation therapist

  • Occupational therapist.

  • Podiatrist

  • Sonographer

In a statement, Immigration Minister Michael Wood said with a global health worker shortage, it was vital to attract them to New Zealand's shores.

"We've listened to the health sector and these changes ensure that immigration settings are as helpful and competitive as possible," he said.

In a statement today, Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said all the 48 health roles now on the Straight-to-Residence pathway were nationally important and would mean New Zealand's settings were "among the most competitive in the world".

"These changes are in addition to the steps we have taken to make pay fairer for nurses working in our health sector, some of whom saw up to a 15 percent increase to their base pay last month."