Approved Classes of Workers

Can you get a border exemption as a Critical Worker for New Zealand?

Certain "Approved Classes of workers" qualify for border exemptions as "Critical Workers" and quotas also apply under certain cases. The family of the worker is typically allowed to accompany under these visas unless mentioned otherwise.


Up to 300 teachers may be allowed to come and teach in New Zealand. Early learning teachers and Primary/Secondary teachers in State and State-integrated schools must hold registration with the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. Teachers must also meet one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • have an offer of employment in New Zealand State or State-integrated school/kura OR Early Childhood Education Centre
  • are teachers that were already employed as teachers in New Zealand but who left New Zealand and are now unable to return to their positions due to the border closure

Dairy farm managers and assistants

Up to 200 dairy farm workers will be able to seek a border exemption to come work in New Zealand. This exemption is across three groups of workers:

    • Assistant Dairy Farm Managers
      • with a salary above $92,000 per annum, and
      • who have 2-4 years of relevant work experience.
    • ­Dairy Herd Managers
      • with salary above $79,500 per year, and
      • who have 2-4 years of relevant work experience.
    • Dairy Farm Assistants
      • who are offered at or above $28, and
      • who are employed to fill roles in regions with acute shortages.

Partners and dependent children are able to accompany. Industry Associations Dairy NZ and Federated Farmers work with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to prioritise these workers.


If you are a shearer with at least 2 years' work experience, the New Zealand Shearers Contractor’s Association (NZSCA) may contract you to be part of up to 40 foreign shearers who will be granted a border exemption under this class of approved workers.

Deepwater fishing crew

Up to 615 deepwater fishing crew will be nominated by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). Only the following companies on the named fishing vessels can hire crew under this approved class of workers.

To be eligible to be granted a 12-month visa as a border exception, the crew must also be paid at least the minimum wage plus $4 per hour.

Independent Fisheries Ltd

    • Independent
    • Irvinga
    • Mainstream

Maruha (N.Z.) Corporation Ltd

    • Aleksey Slobodchikov
    • Te Raukura

Sealord Charters Ltd

    • Meridian
    • Professor Mykhaylo Aleksandrov

Aurora Fisheries Ltd Vessel

    • Tomi Maru 87

DW New Zealand Limited

    • Dong Won 519
    • Dong Won 530

Jaico Limited

    • Fortunui
    • Pacinui

Agricultural and Horticultural mobile plant operators

Up to 200 agricultural and horticultural mobile plant operators can be selected by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). You may be eligible if you:

    • have at least 3 seasons’ experience as an agricultural or horticultural mobile plant operator
    • have relevant vehicle licensing and/or qualifications
    • work under an approved contract agreement in a full-time role with specified rural contract operators, and
    • if you are offered at or above the median wage per year.

Veterinarians (General Practice)

Up to 50 general practice veterinarians earning at or above $85,000 per year.

You must be suitably qualified and have at least 3-5 years of experience for the role of a veterinarian and also have successfully obtained registration from the Veterinary Council of New Zealand.

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) will work with New Zealand Veterinary Association to prioritise workers entering New Zealand under this class exception.

Partners and dependent children are able to accompany.

Veterinarians (mixed and large animals)

Up to 30 veterinarians may be nominated for assessment by the Ministry of Primary Industries. As above, you must hold the require qualifications, experience, and NZ registration.