June 2021 – Vet Visa Update for New Zealand

nz vet visa update

In June 2021, it was announced by Immigration New Zealand that border exceptions for a further 50 general practice veterinarians will be granted. There are still some specific criteria around this, which we have outlined in a bit more detail for you.



  • You must earn at least $85,000 per year
  • You must have a minimum of 3 years veterinary experience
  • You must hold the necessary qualifications and experience to be licensed and registered with the Veterinary Council of New Zealand
  • This visa will be valid for up to 12 months, and is called the Critical Purpose Worker Visa

The Ministry of Primary Industries will work with New Zealand Veterinary Association to prioritise workers entering New Zealand under this class exception. Workers are able to apply to bring their partners and dependent children with them under this class exception.

Process of application;


·         You will have to sign a contract with an employer & register with the VCNZ. Places cannot be reserved unless employers are in final negotiations with an applicant who meets all criteria.

·         The NZVA checks that all criteria have been met and sends the details of applicants (including any dependents, family members and partners) to MPI for approval.

·         MPI approves applicants and names of the approved individuals are given to Immigration NZ.

·         Employer/ veterinarian makes an expression of interest for “an approved class of worker” with Immigration NZ.

·         Immigration NZ matches the expression of interest applications with the list of approved individuals supplied by MPI and the application progresses.

·         Any application for “an approved class of worker” visa that has not been made via NZVA will be rejected by Immigration NZ.

Documents required;


·         An offer of employment contract/an Employment Agreement

·         VCNZ registration

·         Evidence of your 3 – 5 years’ industry experience which can include;

o   A reference from your employers, including dates of your employment with them

o   Bank statements and/or payslips covering at least 3 years of employment

o   Tax records from your government for this period


Other long-term critical worker visas;


In addition to the above, any employer can still apply for a long-term critical work visa. This visa is available to all veterinarians (including companion animal) earning a minimum salary of NZ$106,080.

These applications can be made directly through Immigration NZ (no need to gain pre-approval from MPI).

These applications can be made by completing an Expression of Interest Form and selecting “To get workers with unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in NZ”.

See our vet jobs in New Zealand page for more info, register for our jobs as they become available or get in touch today!