One Year on from Border Reopening: What’s Happened?

A year has passed since the New Zealand border opened. With it, there has been a suite of visa introductions, amendments and adjustments according to the Immigration Rebalance plan.

VisaMaxNZ has helped hundreds of migrants navigate the busy times following the border opening. Even now, as the alterations slow down, we’re committed to providing our clients with the best information possible. That’s why we’re taking a look at the changes that have taken place in New Zealand immigration since the borders were opened.

New Visa Categories

Some of the most significant changes in immigration have been the introduction of new visas, and the removal of old ones.

One of the biggest events in 2021 was the introduction of the 21RV, a one-off residency visa designed to help those stranded in New Zealand in the wake of COVID-19. The 21RV closed on the 31st of July 2022 as other visa options were introduced instead.

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) was introduced as soon as the borders opened, replacing 6 previous categories. With this, employer accreditation was introduced so the government can keep better track of migrant employers and ensure their workers are being treated fairly. The AEWV is a critical piece of the Immigration Rebalance puzzle, and it’s expected that this category will be hanging around for a good while.

New Residency Pathways and the Green List

Three new paths to residency were also brought in; the Straight to Residence pathway; Work to Residence pathway; and Highly Paid pathway.

The first two pathways relate to the Green List, another new addition to immigration in New Zealand. The Green List contains the most in-demand occupations in New Zealand, and provides faster routes to residency for migrants who come here to lend their precious skills.

The Green List has tiers, where the most in-demand roles can qualify for a Straight to Residence visa, and the second tier may qualify for Work to Residence. You can see the full Green List here.

Additional amendments were made to the Green List and these new residency pathways. The most significant being the addition of nursing roles on the Straight to Residence visa, and the removal of qualifications for chef roles. Both of these changes were in response to public feedback, and should now better reflect the demand in those roles, as well as how the industry operates.

Also, the Skilled Migrant Category residence pathway is back with selections resuming at the end of 2022. But, the current settings are expected to be changed drastically in 2023, so watch this space.

Finally, selections under the Parent Residence Visa category will resume in August 2023. This is a highly popular category for migrants to reunite with their parents after many years of this particular policy being closed.

To Sum

The past year has been a time of great change for immigration in New Zealand. In the wake of the global pandemic, and visa restructures, it makes sense that there’s been some back-and-forth in policy and procedures. As understandable as some of the changes are, we hope it settles down to provide more certainty for migrants wanting to make the move to New Zealand.

More than ever, having an LIA on your side for your visa application saves you time and stress, while giving you the best possible chance to be successful. It’s our job here at VisaMaxNZ to be the experts in New Zealand immigration, so you don’t have to be.

You can contact our team through the website, or flick us an email at to get your visa journey started!

Contact VisaMax NZ today