New residence routes announced for doctors

IMG doctor

It has been a big couple of years in the immigration space with many changes rolling out. Initially, those changes were to deal with the border closures due to Covid-19, but now that the borders have reopened, the government and Immigration are looking forward and wanting to ensure there are easy immigration processes in place to encourage highly skilled professionals to make New Zealand their home.

Overseas doctors are vital to New Zealand’s healthcare system with just over 40% of all of our doctors having been trained in another country and so they have made sure to prioritise medical professionals in having access to both short-term work visas and longer-term residence.

A residence visa allows the holder to stay permanently in New Zealand, work for any employer, vote, buy property, and work towards citizenship. For those who would like to pursue specialist training in New Zealand, it’s critical. The government has also recently reopened the Parent Category so, after 3 years as a resident you could be in a position to support your parents to come to New Zealand as well.

Below are the current routes to residence for doctors. All of these require you to have a job offer and medical council registration – and this is where we come in. Get in touch with us for assistance in checking your eligibility for the medical council and in securing your ideal job.

All residence applications allow you to include your partner and dependents and they are then issued their own resident visas independent of you. This can be great if perhaps your kids might want to come back to New Zealand for University – they would be domestic students if they hold residence.

Straight to Residence

If offered a position by an accredited employer for one of the roles on the Tier 1 Green List, you are eligible to apply for this residence visa. You can apply for this visa before you even arrive in New Zealand and Immigration is treating these as a priority meaning they are allocated within 48hours to a case officer. While they haven’t published processing times for this category yet, we are expecting around 3-4 months for this to be completed.

High Paid Residence

While most medical professions are on Tier 1 of the Green List, there are a few which are not (we are working on getting these added!) so, for those professions, you could consider the Highly Paid Residence Pathway. First, you would come to New Zealand on a temporary Accredited Employer Work Visa, and then after working for 24 months at twice the median wage ($59.32 from February 2023 onwards) you are eligible to apply for this. As this is new, we haven’t had any applicants reach the 24 months of work yet, but applications are opening in September 2023 and we are expecting prioritised processing times.

Skilled Migrant Category Residence

This is a points-based system where you can claim for factors such as qualifications, skilled work experience, and an offer of skilled employment. You claim these points as part of an Expression of Interest that goes into a pool for selection. From 18 January, the points threshold will increase to 180. This whole category is undergoing consultation at the moment so we are anticipating further changes from 2023 onwards.

Once you have secured a role with us we will organise a consultation for you with our Immigration Adviser who will go over all of the options available to you so that you have all the information you need to make the best choices for you and your family.

Our end-to-end- service is free for doctors, register to start your journey to New Zealand residence with a consultation with one of our Immigration Advisers.

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Sarah Robertson
10 November 2022Article by Sarah Robertson Medrecruit Immigration Advisor