Written by Roseanne Bradley,
27th April 2023

For anyone considering a move to New Zealand, it’s worth checking whether your occupation is in demand in the country. It could provide additional visa options, especially if you’re skilled in your craft.

A keyboard shows a key with the New Zealand flag and a button that reads ‘find job’ next to it

Pathways to residence

There’s something called the New Zealand Green List which recently replaced the skills shortage list for the Australasian country. There are two tiers to the green list. They are:

  • Straight to residence
  • Work to residence

The straight to residence pathway is a visa that one can apply for, if eligible, and it allows you to come to New Zealand on a work visa and apply or apply from outside the country.

Read more on the Straight to Residence visa

The work to residence visa is slightly different. You can apply for this if you work for an accredited employer and you have worked in a tier 2 green list for 2 years. With this visa you can live, work and study in New Zealand and can include partners and dependent children in your application.

Read more about the Work to Residence visa here

An illustration depicts multiple hands offering a qualified professional money

What roles are in high demand?

Here, we take a look some of the most in demand jobs across New Zealand. Which do you think is the most in demand? Does your occupation appear? Could a move to NZ be on the cards for you this year?

There are four key industries that are in high demand across the state of New Zealand. They include healthcare & medicine, construction, engineering and education.

The median pay for each category is as follows (According to nz.visaenvoy.com)

  • Construction: $60,000
  • Education: $60,000
  • Engineering: $75,000
  • Healthcare: $55,000

Medical professional holds stethoscope with New Zealand flag on

Registered nurses

Registered nurses, doctors and medical technicians have been in high-demand in New Zealand since 2021 when a major reform of the healthcare system was launched. The country has need for many types of specialist nurses. They include aged care, child and family health, community health, critical care and emergency, developmental disability, rehabilitation, medical practice, medical, mental health, paediatrics, perioperative and surgical.

According to the Skills in Demand site, nurses who were trained/qualified in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, USA or United Kingdom may be eligible for immediate registration. Apply today.

General practitioners

As mentioned above, healthcare roles are in high demand, so it makes sense that the New Zealand government actually has a dedicated site for finding a career in medicine, as roles in the field are so highly in demand. View the site today to find your next role.

As a qualified GP, to be eligible for the Straight to Residence pathway you must be working for an accredited employer or have a job offer. If you meet the visa requirements you can apply for the StR visa.

Find out more about the qualifications needed.

Teacher in a primary school classroom

Teachers & educators

Teachers are needed across both primary (grade 1 to 7) and secondary (high school) education. Early childhood centre managers are also in demand.

In order to practice as a teacher in New Zealand, you need to register and hold a current practicing certificate.

Find out more about visa and qualifications needed for this role.

Browse the Teaching Council of New Zealand’s site.

ICT, electronics and communications

There are several roles under this category on the NZ Green List of occupations. They include ICT Managers, ICT Project Managers and ICT Security Specialists. As roles in this field tend to be more specific, it’s worth checking the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) code that best matches your current job or offer.

You can search for your role here. 

A builder shows a couple plans for their home

Construction professionals

There’s a high demand for skilled professionals within construction. These include Construction Project Managers and Project Builders (Building Project Managers and Site Foreman).

The profession makes good money and is really rewarding for someone who is good with their hands. The average construction salary is around $60,000 but can range between $39,000 – $145,000 depending on level of experience.

Learn more about construction in New Zealand here.

Building surveyors

Building surveyors are often in high-demand worldwide as infrastructure continues to grow and housing booms are quite frequent.

To be eligible for the straight to residence visa, you must have at least one of the following: Bachelor of Surveying, Bachelor of Surveying with Honours, Registration as a professional surveyor with the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors and/or Professional Associate Membership or an Overseas Member of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors.

Find surveying jobs on RICS or NZIQS.

Civil engineers

There is a shortage of civil engineers in New Zealand, so chances of getting a job are good. You usually need at least four years’ worth of training to be a qualified Civil Engineer. More information on essential qualifications are available here.

Learn more about Civil Engineers and opportunities in New Zealand today.

Find out qualifications needed to apply for the Straight to Residence visa.

Healthcare professionals are in high demand in New Zealand

Specialist doctors, consultants and surgeons

There are many specialist physician roles in demand on the New Zealand green list of occupations. They range from renal medicine specialists to general medicine physicians.

There are a huge amount of specialist roles in demand in New Zealand. Filter the green list of occupations by health and social services to find roles relevant to your qualifications and speciality.

For this type of role you must have registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand. More information on specifics is available here


Similar to the demand for registered nurses, midwives are constantly needed across New Zealand. To qualify for straight to residence visa, you must be qualified and will need to register with the New Zealand Midwifery Council to be eligible for this visa pathway.


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