More than 6000 overseas healthcare employees join NZ's workforce since borders reopened, Andrew Little says

Immigration settings are being credited for a new healthcare worker milestone that has seen thousands of overseas workers arrive in New Zealand. 

Immigration Minister Andrew Little made the announcement on Tuesday morning saying since the borders reopened following COVID-19, more than 6300 overseas health workers have joined New Zealand's health workforce through the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme and the Green List Straight to Residence pathways.

This includes 2500 nurses and more than 2300 workers in the aged care, disabled and personal care sectors. 

"The evidence is clear that at a time of global health worker shortages, New Zealand's immigration settings are helping to attract more health workers to our shores to bolster our health system," Little said. 

Despite the new figures, it's been reported more than 5000 Kiwi nurses registered with Australian Health regulators in the past year alone - a compulsory step to work across the Tasman.

The Green List was created in 2022 to help attract highly skilled workers in nationally significant roles amidst global workforce shortages.

There is now a total of 48 health sector roles on the Green List all of which are on the Straight to Residence pathway, Little said. This includes enrolled nurses, nurse practitioners, dentists and dental technicians, MRI scanning technologists, paramedics, optometrists, pharmacists and counsellors.

"Growing our health workforce is a top priority for this government and these visa pathways are part of work we are doing to improve healthcare for New Zealanders," Little said.

"A recent OECD report ranked New Zealand as the number one country in the world for attracting highly skilled workers, which gives New Zealand an advantage in a highly competitive global market."

There are also a further 800 people offshore who have been approved an Accredited Employer Work Visa, who are yet to make the move to New Zealand.

The Government also created a residence pathway for some care workers under the Accredited Employer Work Visa to gain residence after 24 months.