#COVID19: New Zealand creates further border exceptions for more occupations

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The New Zealand government has created several border exceptions in the past couple of months to allow skilled workers into the country.

The latest border exceptions are for six occupations ranging from horticultural mobile plant operators to sheep shearers.

Agricultural and Horticultural mobile plant operators

For the 2021/22 season, up to 125 agricultural and horticultural mobile plant operators can be nominated for assessment by New Zealand employers.

To be eligible for nomination, overseas workers must:

  • have at least three seasons’ experience as agricultural or horticultural mobile plant operators,
  • have the relevant vehicle licensing qualifications,
  •  work under an approved contract agreement in a fulltime role with specified rural contract operators, and
  • earn at or above the median wage per year.

Mixed and large animal veterinarians

Up to 30 veterinarians may enter New Zealand to work under the border exception created for this occupation. Vets must hold the qualifications and experience necessary for licensing and registration with the Veterinary Council of New Zealand  to qualify for this border exception.


Up to 40 foreign shearers contracted by or through a New Zealand Shearers Contractor’s Association (NZSCA) employer and with more than two years’ experience will be able to travel to New Zealand to support the upcoming main shear season.

Deepwater fishing crew

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) can nominate up to 615 deepwater fishing crew. To be eligible for a 12-month visa as a border exception, the crew must be paid at least the minimum wage plus NZ$4 per hour.

What other occupations have border exceptions?

New Zealand has also created border exceptions for teachers, healthcare workers, dairy farm workers and general practice veterinarians:


Immigration New Zealand announced in July that it is going to create a border exception for 300 qualified teachers from overseas. The Ministry of Education will invite applications for these teachers from September.

Read more about the border exception for teachers on our blog.

Healthcare workers

New Zealand welcomes healthcare workers into the country to help in the fight against COVID-19. The border exception applies to:

  • Registered health practitioners, including nurses, doctors and paramedics – this includes those working in hospitals, practices, and aged care facilities
  • Internationally-qualified nurses, who still have to register in New Zealand
  • Workers that operate and maintain medical equipment

You can find a complete list of occupations on Immigration New Zealand’s website under the Critical Health Workers heading.

Dairy farm managers and assistants

Up to 150 dairy farm managers and 50 dairy farm assistants will be able to travel to New Zealand to support the upcoming calving season.

You can read more about this exception on our blog.

General practice veterinarians

Up to 50 veterinarians will be able to enter and work in New Zealand. Click here to find out more about this exception.

Want to know when New Zealand creates more border exceptions?

While we can’t guarantee that New Zealand will create more border exceptions, we can promise that we’ll let you know if and when it happens. The easiest way to catch updates is to follow us on either Facebook or LinkedIn. We share news on our social media channels as soon it’s announced.

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