New Zealand’s Green List Expands: Key Skilled Occupations Added

In a significant update by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and NZ Immigration on September 23, 2023, the Green List is poised for expansion, introducing seventeen new roles to its roster. Scheduled for March 2024, this expansion follows a comprehensive review, highlighting the government’s dedication to filling skill shortages and improving New Zealand’s employment landscape amid a global competition for labour across all skill levels.

Global and Domestic Employment Trends

Post-COVID-19, labour shortages have been a common challenge across OECD countries, affecting various industries. Domestically, New Zealand has seen its labour market tighten, with spare capacity decreasing and unemployment rates reaching near-record lows of 3.3% in the September 2022 quarter. This context underscores the critical timing and relevance of the Green List’s expansion.

Introduction and Purpose of the Green List

Launched in May 2022, the Green List offers a streamlined residence pathway for individuals in specified skilled occupations to support New Zealand’s transition to a more productive and sustainable economy. Initially including 85 occupations available for either a Straight to Residence (STR) or Work to Residence (WTR) pathway, the list’s effectiveness and scope have been under review to ensure it meets the evolving needs of the country’s industries.

Review and Insights

Data from September 2022 to June 2023 shows 2,986 applications across all occupations on the Green List, with the top 10 occupations—spanning health, ICT, engineering, and construction sectors—accounting for 65% of these applications. This data, albeit limited, illustrates a concentrated demand in specific sectors and highlights high and low uptake areas.

Understanding the Green List

The Green List is pivotal in New Zealand’s strategy to attract skilled professionals in high-demand sectors. By facilitating a more straightforward immigration process, the list helps address immediate skill gaps. It contributes to the country’s long-term economic and social goals.

New Additions to the Green List

The upcoming additions to the Green List encompass various sectors, including engineering, aviation, ICT, construction, manufacturing, and corrections. Each role has been selected for its importance in maintaining and advancing New Zealand’s industry standards and competitive edge on a global scale. Here’s a breakdown of the new roles:

Engineering and Aviation

  • Aviation Engineer (Avionics, Aeronautical, Aerospace)
  • Naval Architects (Marine Designer)
  • Mechanical Engineering Technician
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

  • ICT Database and System Administrator

Construction and Manufacturing

  • Road Roller Operator
  • Paving Plant Operator
  • Metal Fabricator
  • Pressure Welder
  • Welder
  • Fitter (General)
  • Fitter and Turner
  • Fitter-Welder
  • Metal Machinist (First Class)
  • Panel Beater
  • Vehicle Painter


  • Corrections Officer

Impact of New Occupation Additions to the Green List

The strategic inclusion of these seventeen new roles is poised to significantly impact New Zealand’s approach to overcoming skill shortages. It is expected to:

  • Enhance Industry Competitiveness: These roles will help New Zealand’s sectors remain competitive globally by filling critical gaps in key industries and ensuring continued growth and innovation.
  • Attract Global Talent: Streamlining the path to residency for these occupations will make New Zealand a more attractive destination for skilled professionals worldwide, enriching the local workforce with diverse expertise.
  • Boost Economic Growth: Infusing skilled labour is essential for driving productivity and sustainability, which in turn contributes to overall economic prosperity.
  • Address Immediate and Long-Term Skill Gaps: Tailoring the Green List to include high-demand occupations effectively addresses immediate and future skill shortages, supporting the country’s strategic development goals.

Looking Ahead

Including these roles from March 2024 is a strategic move to combat New Zealand’s skill shortages. It promises new opportunities for international skilled workers and bolsters the country’s industries. Further information, including role requirements and residence pathways, will be detailed closer to the implementation date.
Stay tuned for MBIE’s forthcoming guidelines and application processes, marking a significant step towards a brighter and more prosperous future for New Zealand’s economy and workforce.


About ICL Immigration 

ICL Immigration is a 20-year-old licensed immigration consultant based in Auckland, dedicated to making your dream of settling in New Zealand a reality. With a 97% approval rate, we offer specialized services in skilled migration visa, family reunification, student visas, and business immigration, guiding you seamlessly through every step of your journey.


For the latest information, always refer to the official Immigration New Zealand or New Zealand government websites.

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