Straight to Residence Visa – A lesser-known residence pathway to bring migrants into NZ27 April 2023
If you are an employer, HR professional, or recruiter hiring in the following sectors, do you know that you can directly bring migrants to work in New Zealand as residents?
- Medical / Healthcare
- Information Technology
- Primary industry / Science
If you are not aware of this option, read on to find out if this may be a better pathway for your business and your migrant employees.
Most employers are familiar with the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) as the standard pathway for bringing workers into NZ. The AEWV can only be applied for after the employer is accredited by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and the job check for the position is approved. This process can take anywhere between 60 to 120 days.
However, for certain occupations, there is a pathway called "Straight to Residence" (STR) that is available for migrant workers who have a job offer in Tier 1 of the Green List and meet all the requirements in the list. This means that these applicants can directly apply for residence while outside of NZ, can include eligible family members, and arrive in NZ on a resident visa.
Immigration NZ’s website states that STR applications are presently taking an average of 43 days, with 90% of applications being decided within 87 days.
The key requirements that an STR applicant must meet to qualify and the main reasons why you, as an employer should explore this pathway are listed below.
Requirements that must be met:
- Must hold an offer of place in Tier 1 of the Green List from an accredited employer
Green List is divided into Tier 1 and Tier 2 occupations. Only Tier 1 occupations qualify for a Straight to Residence pathway. Migrants in Tier 2 occupations need to work in NZ for two years in that role to qualify for a Work to residence pathway.
- Meets the requirements of the occupation listed in the Green List
Different occupations in the Green List have different requirements that need to be met to qualify for Straight to Residence. For example, a Construction Project Manager must meet at least one of the listed minimum qualifications, registration, or experience requirements. For most IT roles, the requirement of remuneration at $61.69 an hour or above, or the equivalent annual salary must be met. Where the employment or offer of employment is based on a contract for services, the remuneration must be $86.54 an hour or the equivalent annual salary and a minimum of 10 years’ work in a relevant role is required.
- Must be 55 years of age or younger.
- Meets INZ's good health and character requirements.
- Meets the English language requirements
Reasons why this may be a better pathway for your prospective migrant employees and for your business than the AEWV:
- Since both pathways, AEWV and STR, require your business to be accredited it may be more feasible to consider the latter route as it offers a direct residence visa to the employee.
- There is no need for a job check if applying for STR, which is only mandatory for an AEWV. Thus, eliminating one step compared to an AEWV.
- Candidates can come directly to NZ on a residence visa which provides certainty for both employers and candidates, as there is no need for further work visa renewals.
- The candidate’s family members, if eligible, also come to NZ on residence visas. Candidates can focus on settling in and making NZ their new home, without worrying about figuring out pathways to residence.
Here is a sector-wise list of roles that are eligible for an STR.
If you are an employer or HR professional or recruiter and you're looking to bring migrant workers into New Zealand, schedule a complimentary chat with our senior Licensed Immigration Advisers to explore the most effective approach for your organization and your people.