Putting candidate care first

Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora offers a streamlined, candidate-centred service via our new International Recruitment Centre which incorporates a specialised Health Immigration Service.

The aim of the Centre is to provide a service that will make a major life-changing decision as stress-free as possible for international health professionals moving to New Zealand to live and work.

We want to live up to our reputation as a friendly and welcoming country and demonstrate a centre of excellence approach in our international recruitment practices.

Our immediate goal is to attract and support the retention of internationally trained migrants and New Zealand trained ex-pats.

Detailed information about the Centre

About the Centre

In August 2022, Health Minister Andrew Little announced an initiative designed to improve New Zealand’s ability to reach and recruit overseas-based health professionals. The International Recruitment Centre is the realisation of this plan.


The key aspects of the Centre’s work are

  • a streamlined approach to attracting and retaining international health professionals,
  • free immigration advice for Te Whatu Ora employees* provided by Licensed Immigration Advisors for more complex visa situations, and
  • working towards a ‘whole-of-system’ approach.


The Centre is dedicated to attracting and retaining internationally trained migrants and New Zealand trained ex-pats. It will provide a high-quality, streamlined, candidate-centred service from employee attraction through to post-settlement support.


*Available for Health NZ employees in the short term, with plans to later expand the offering across the sector.

Streamlining Health Immigration

Our new Health Immigration Service launched an initial service offering on 31 October and is responsible for national coordination and stewardship of health immigration advice and support, to support districts and their candidates.


Establishing our own in-house health immigration service is an innovative and challenging response to support internationally qualified health professionals move to New Zealand. It marks the beginning of a new, nationally coordinated approach to health immigration for New Zealand.


The health sector is one of New Zealand’s biggest employers and historically includes a large component of internationally qualified workers.


It works across national, regional, and local structures providing coordination, training, and consistency across three function areas: immigration, relocation, and settlement.


Key Partnership: Immigration New Zealand

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has made changes to their Skilled Migrant category and replaced six visa categories with a new pathway, the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). Te Whatu Ora has attained accreditation under this scheme. 


As an accredited employer with Immigration New Zealand, and we are working together to ensure a consistent service for candidates. There are several immigration pathways available to health professionals coming into New Zealand. These include the Green List, Care Sector agreement, and internationally qualified nurses.  




Our services

The Health Immigration Service will initially be available to support health workers looking to emigrate to New Zealand and existing staff of Health NZ, and offers:

  • Free immigration advice provided by Licensed Immigration Advisors.
  • A relocation package that may include one-way airfares for the candidate and their family, temporary accommodation, short-term car hire and a contribution towards moving house.
  • Settlement services at the local level to welcome the candidate and their family to a new country and neighbourhood
  • A candidate guide/kaitiaki will be available to help eligible candidates plan their migration journey providing information and support as needed.

Immigration New Zealand's Green List

The Immigration New Zealand Green List is a list of 89 occupations that qualify for a straight to residence or work to residence pathway.

A range of jobs are on the list, including health workers, vets, engineers, and ICT specialists.

From 29 May 2023, 48 health roles are on Tier 1 of the Green List allowing internationally-qualified workers and their immediate family to apply for New Zealand residency offshore and enter New Zealand as residents.

Health NZ's International Recruitment Campaign

Health NZ’s first major International Recruitment Campaign launched on 21 November, 2022, targeting five countries where Responsible Authorities offer a faster registration pathway across a large portion of health roles – the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and Singapore. 

In general, these are also the countries from where a significant portion of our internationally qualified migrants come. Alongside the creative campaign, we have also worked with Immigration New Zealand to direct message health professionals who have showed an interest in coming to New Zealand via their email newsletters, and run a series of webinars alongside various Responsible Authorities and Immigration NZ to give health workers interested in coming to New Zealand a fuller picture of the emigration process from start to finish.

News and Updates

31 October, 2022

Te Whatu Ora’s new Health Immigration Service comes into effect today, 31 October.

As a part of the International Recruitment Centre, it is part of Te Whatu Ora’s strategy to create a single health employer providing a seamless experience for international candidates. This marks the beginning of a new, nationally coordinated approach to health immigration for New Zealand.

Working across national, regional, and local structures, the service will ensure coordination and consistency across three function areas: immigration, relocation, and settlement. It will provide advice, support, and policy for all immigration related services. The website was set up to host information and resources about the service and immigration processes.

Key benefits of the new service include:

  • Specialist recruitment functions to match candidates with vacancies across the country
  • Immigration functions providing free advice and support to candidates
  • Consistent national relocation options, matching candidates to required levels of support.
  • Settlement support to ensure candidates and their families are welcomed into their new communities. 

31 August, 2022

Establishment of the International Recruitment Centre (IRC) is well underway, with our core team of leadership and staff in place. We have taken an integrated approach to this mahi including policy development, with consideration for the impact this work will have on the sector, our teams of teams and mostly importantly our front-line people. 

Work is required to realise a whole-of system approach. A focus is on how the IRC can work with employers and candidates in the wider health sector, service offerings, and resourcing and cost. This involves collaboration with sector employers such as Aged Care, and other services vulnerable because of vacancies. 

We are proud of the team we have created and the work the International Recruitment Centre has achieved to date. We are greatly looking forward to the continued development of the Health Immigration service and release of the international campaign. We feel the Centre is positioned for success and to make a real difference to New Zealand’s health sector.

Working towards a "whole-of-system" approach

Since the announcement of the International Recruitment Centre and commencement of the international recruitment campaign, we have received enquiries from the wider health and disability system about being part of this work. So far, our processes have been developed to support Health NZ. However, New Zealand’s health system comprises of hundreds of employers of which Health NZ is only one, albeit the largest, and many health workers are employed by other organisations.

Health NZ is now expanding the International Recruitment Centre to include other health and disability system employers.

Who is involved?

The scope for Health NZ’s whole of system work is employers providing health services funded by Vote Health, that is, services funded by Health NZ, Te Aka Whai Ora, Manatū Hauora or Whaikaha. As the International Recruitment Centre is a response to acute health workforce shortages, our workforce scope covers the clinical health workforce (registered and non-registered health professionals) and those who provide critical services to support clinical teams, for example, medical laboratory technicians. It does not include non-clinical workers working in a health setting. 


Making a start

It will be some time before our digital platforms required for a whole of system approach will be available. In the meantime, we have started working with professional groups (eg paramedics) and specific health sectors (eg rural health) and testing out different ways to refer and support international candidates. In addition, we have set up a pilot for the Mental Health and Addictions Sector.


Guiding Principles

We have developed some basic principles to guide our international recruitment activities.

  • A core principle is the focus on supporting international health workers to be culturally prepared to live and work in Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique cultural context. This includes enabling international candidates and employers to access education regarding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and cultural competence and understanding the importance of contributing to improving Māori health outcomes
  • We are committed to prioritising growing and recruiting from domestic workforce before recruiting internationally. This includes supporting our overseas-based New Zealand trained health professionals to come home.
    • Although the introduction of the green list means that we do not have to advertise green list roles before recruiting overseas we still have an obligation to prioritise our domestic workforce.
  • When we do recruit internationally, we ensure our processes are conducted ethically in accordance with our global obligations. For example:
    • no active recruitment of health workers from developing countries facing critical shortages of health workers unless there is an explicit government-to-government agreement with New Zealand to support managed recruitment activities, as per the World Health Organisation Health Workforce Support and Safeguard List, 2020.
    • ensuring that migrant health workers are treated equitably with the domestically trained health workforce, that data on migrant health workers will be collected, analysed and translated into effective health workforce policies and plans, and we will not work with any agencies which charge their candidates any fees.
    • In addition to the countries listed by the World Health Organisation we will also not actively recruit from nations in the South Pacific. 

Sharing resources

As part of establishing the International Recruitment Centre, we developed a variety of tools and guidelines to support our international recruitment processes. We are sharing these resources to use as you need, to support your international recruitment processes.

Candidate resources and information

On the landing page for the international recruitment campaign, you will find a wealth of useful information that you can also provide to your candidates if you choose. Flip through the pages on somewheredifferent.nz and look for: 

  • Job Title Glossary for the ANZSCO code and job title for specific health occupations 
  • Getting Registered to Practise that describes New Zealand’s registration system and provides a list of registration bodies 
  • Aotearoa’s Māori Culture where a variety of cultural competency resources can be found to support candidates’ understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand's Māori culture 
  • Financial support which sets out the relocation package that some Te Whatu Ora roles are eligible for. 

Supporting accredited employers

Health NZ has worked closely with Immigration New Zealand who has developed a Visa Pathways Map for the health system. The map sets out the pathways to immigration for health professionals including those on the Green List, those included in the Care Sector Agreement, and those who are not covered by either of these. You can share this pathways map with a candidate without it being deemed as providing immigration advice as this type of advice can only be provided by Licensed Immigration Advisors. 

Other useful links to Immigration New Zealand information are: 


Becoming an Accredited employer

If you are not yet an accredited employer and are considering becoming one, Health NZ’s Health Immigration Service has created a summary of the process


What's happening next

We are not yet able to work with individual employers, however we are keen to hear from health organisations that are accredited employers and work regionally or nationally and see how we can work together to place international health workers into work. Contact us on InternationalRecruitmentCentre@health.govt.nz.

Contact Us

Get in touch by using this contact form. Using this will enable us to triage your queries and give more efficient responses. 

Alternatively, you can email us at: InternationalRecruitmentCentre@health.govt.nz.