Thirty-two new health sector roles added to Green List Straight to Residence pathway

The Government has added 32 new health sector roles to the Straight to Residence pathway of the Green List to help prepare our health system for the coming winter, Immigration Minister Michael Wood and Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today.

“The world is currently facing a global health worker shortage, so it is vital that New Zealand’s immigration settings present a competitive offer to attract health workers to our shores,” Michael Wood said.

“We need more qualified people to help us deliver on our record health investments and help improve access to good healthcare in New Zealand.

“We’ve listened to the health sector and these changes ensure that immigration settings are as helpful and competitive as possible,” Michael Wood said.

“When I became Health Minister I said workforce was one of my three key areas of priority and today’s announcement is a significant step in attracting more people to come and work in our health system,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

“The 32 health roles being added to the Green List’s Straight to Residence pathway span across the wider health sector from enrolled nurses, nurse practitioners, dentists and dental technicians, MRI scanning technologists, paramedics, optometrists and pharmacists to counselling.

“The Green List now has a total of 48 health roles, all of which are nationally important and all of which will be on the Straight to Residence pathway.

“The list already includes midwives and registered nurses, which were added to the Green List in December. Last month alone we saw almost 900 overseas nurses apply to register to work in New Zealand.

“These immigration settings will be among the most competitive in the world, and are yet another positive step, along with better wages for nurses and immigration support, to influence the number of health workers who come to New Zealand.

“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% increase to their base pay last month.

“We want to train and retain as many local health workers as  possible but we have immediate shortages we need to address and today’s changes alongside improvements to pay will go some way to removing barriers to working in New Zealand,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

The Green List also includes roles that contribute to the wellbeing of Kiwi families, including social services, education, justice, and are critical to health service delivery in New Zealand.

Transport sector agreement to be extended to skippers and deck hands

“In our seaside cities, ferries form an essential part of the public transport system, so it is critical that ferry service operators have access to key workers to enhance the reliability of these services,” Michael Wood said.

“Following discussion with the sector I can confirm that skippers and deckhands will be added to the transport sector agreement.

“The market rate for skippers is already above the median wage. Operators will need to continue to pay migrant worker skippers the market rate and migrant worker deckhands will need to be paid at least the median wage to utilise this sector agreement.

“The Government is providing a time limited pathway to residence for skippers piloting boats essential to public transport routes, our supply chain, along with tourism operators and other operators who use skippers and deckhands.

“Final details of the transport sector agreement will be confirmed shortly, with implementation expected to begin from late May,” Michael Wood said.