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New Zealand Fast-Tracks Residency for Foreign Teachers

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Teachers from overseas, particularly those with qualifications in Science, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM), are in high demand in New Zealand.

To address these ongoing teacher shortages, the New Zealand government announced a significant change: effective May 2024, qualified secondary school teachers will be eligible for the Straight to Residence pathway on the Green List of in-demand occupations.

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What Does This Mean for Aspiring Teachers?

Previously, overseas secondary school teachers had to participate in the Green List Work to Residence program, which required them to secure a job in New Zealand and work for two years before applying for residency.

The new Straight to Residence pathway simplifies and expedites the process. Here’s how it benefits aspiring teachers:

1. Apply from Abroad: Eligible teachers can now apply for residency directly from their home countries, eliminating the need to first obtain work experience in New Zealand.

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2. Faster & Easier Process: The Straight to Residence pathway streamlines the application process, offering greater certainty and a quicker path to residency.

3. Prioritized Consideration: As part of the Green List, applications from secondary school teachers will receive priority consideration.

Must Read: New Rules Impacting Accredited Employer Work Visa Holders in New Zealand

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Eligibility Requirements

There are two key requirements for overseas secondary school teachers to qualify for the Straight to Residence pathway:

  1. Job Offer: Applicants must have a confirmed job offer from an accredited New Zealand school.
  2. Green List Occupation: The offered teaching position must be classified as Tier 1 on the Green List of in-demand skills.

Application Process

Applicants have the flexibility to apply for the Straight to Residence Visa either from within New Zealand, provided they possess a valid work visa, or from abroad.

Furthermore, the visa permits holders to live, work, and study in New Zealand, extending the opportunity to include partners and dependent children under the age of 24 in their application.

Benefits Extend to Families

The Straight to Residence visa allows successful applicants to live, work, and study in New Zealand. Additionally, they can include their partners and dependent children (aged 24 or younger) in their visa application. This makes relocating to New Zealand with family a more attractive option for overseas teachers.

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A Solution for Teacher Shortages?

The New Zealand education system has faced persistent shortages, particularly in specific regions and STEM subjects. The government’s hope is that by offering a more streamlined residency pathway, they can attract a wider pool of qualified secondary school teachers from overseas, ultimately mitigating these shortages in the short to medium term.


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