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New Zealand’s new immigration regulations offer immediate residency status to nurses

Like many other countries facing healthcare worker shortages, New Zealand has had to evolve its visa and immigration requirements to welcome a greater number of medical professionals to cope with rising demand.

In December 2022, Immigration New Zealand made an announcement welcome to nurses seeking to immigrate there: nurses would move from the Tier 2 pathway (work to permanent residency with two years' work required) to the Tier 1 “Green List” pathway – straight to permanent residency.   

Earlier this year, the New Zealand Government added an additional 32 professions to the Green List’s Straight to Residence pathway, welcoming and recognising a wider range of roles that can contribute to the country’s healthcare sector. A full list of eligible professions is available here.  

  

What does this mean for OET Test candidates?   

New Zealand has long been an attractive destination for skilled migrants and healthcare workers. The country regularly features on top destination lists for immigration due to safety, education options, and its healthcare system.  

The OET Test has versions for twelve specific healthcare professions; we’re pleased to see a greater representation of these specialisations on the Green List, including Pharmacy, Podiatry, Dentistry, Speech Pathology, Physiotherapy, Radiography, and Dietetics.  

Our vision to connect the world to better healthcare drives our pursuit to ensure OET Test candidates can use their results in top target destinations like New Zealand.  We’re thrilled that since February 2023, over 10,000 OET Test candidates have prepared themselves for a successful career in New Zealand, sharing their results with The Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ) and Immigration New Zealand.   

For new OET Test candidates, this news means the path to achieving your immigration and employment goals in New Zealand just got easier if you are currently working in or studying for one of the following healthcare professions: 

  • Pharmacy 
  • Podiatry 
  • Dentistry 
  • Dietetics 
  • Radiography 
  • Nursing 
  • Medicine 
  • Physiotherapy 
  • Speech pathology (Speech language therapists)
  • Occupational Therapy  

We’re excited to help you realise these dreams! To get started on your preparation journey, visit our Learn page where you can explore information about the OET Test, and access useful resources.   

Read about life in New Zealand with our Destination Guide 

OET has several testing venues in New Zealand including in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin, and Hamilton. 

Book your OET Test and explore our testing venues.