New Zealand is introducing a simplified Straight-to-Residence pathway for STEM teachers abroad

New Zealand has just made a major policy change that will allow teachers in science, technology and maths (STEM) schools to qualify for the Straight to Residence pathway under the Green List of in-demand professions.

The change will take effect from May 2024.

In this process, anyone can apply for the Straight-to-Residence Visa from New Zealand if he or she has a valid work visa, or from abroad.

Nairametrics found that the visa allows holders to live, work and study in New Zealand, and it offers the option to add partners and dependent children under the age of 24 to their applications.

This change was necessary because the country had a high demand for foreign teachers, especially those qualified in STEM.

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Previously, secondary school teachers abroad had to participate in the Green List Work-to-Residence program, which required them to get a job in New Zealand and work for two years before applying for residency. The new Straight to Residence pathway now offers a simplified and accelerated process, with several benefits for prospective teachers.

Program benefits

Here are some benefits of this program:

  • Applying from abroad: Eligible teachers can now apply for residency directly from their home country, bypassing the need to first gain work experience in New Zealand.
  • Faster and simpler process: the Straight to Residence process streamlines the application process and offers more certainty and a faster route to a residence permit.
  • Prioritized consideration: As part of the Green List, applications from secondary school teachers are given priority.
  • Duration of stay: Indefinite

Admission requirements

To qualify for this visa, applicants must be 55 years of age or younger. The financial costs for processing this visa start at NZD$4290, which covers administrative and processing costs.

Additionally, the visa processing time is relatively fast, with applications typically completed within three months. To qualify for the Straight to Residence visa, high school teachers abroad must meet these criteria:

  • Job Offer: Applicants must obtain a confirmed job offer from an accredited New Zealand school.
  • Green List Occupation: The teaching job should be classified as Level 1 on the Green List of in-demand skills.
  • Benefits for families: The Straight to Residence Visa allows successful applicants to live, work and study in New Zealand. It also allows them to include their partners and dependent children (24 years or younger) in their visa application, making it more attractive for foreign teachers to move to New Zealand with their families.

A solution to the teacher shortage

New Zealand’s education system continues to suffer from chronic shortages, particularly in certain regions and in STEM subjects.

By offering a more streamlined residency programme, the government aims to attract a larger group of qualified secondary school teachers from abroad and thus address these shortages in the short to medium term.

Once you have found a job, you can apply for a visa here. Here are some job boards with direct links to teaching jobs in New Zealand to get you started: