Note: This document is subject to change. Ensure you continue to check the MAKO
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Additional Guidance for Determining Whether an Employee is a Critical
Before referring to this guidance please ensure you have read and understand the immigration
instructions at H5 (see also amendment circular).
The below guidance is intended to give you additional guidance only do not copy any of this
information into any correspondence with a client
Critical Workers can be divided into two separate groups- those employees who are required to
come to New Zealand for less than 6 months and those required to come for 6 months or longer.
It is important to understand how long the employee is intending to be in New Zealand as this wil
guide which set of instructions you apply: 6 MONTHS OR LESS
This group must have:
• Unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in New
• Are undertaking a time-critical role which is:
o for the delivery of an approved major infrastructure project OR
o for the delivery of an government approved event OR
o for the delivery of an major government-approved programme OR
o is in support of an approved government-to-government agreement OR
o has significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy.
MORE THAN 6 MONTHS
This group must meet the above requirements AND
• Earn at least $106, 080 per annum OR
• Have a role that is essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme
under a government funded or partial y government-funded contract, including research
and development exchanges and partnerships, and has the support of MBIE Science,
Innovation and International Branch to travel to New Zealand to carry out their work OR
• Be undertaking a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of:
o A government-approved event OR
o A major government-approved programme OR
o An approved major infrastructure project.
Factors that may be taken into account when determining whether a person is an ‘other critical
• Why that person is needed to ensure the delivery, continuity or execution of the work
or service, and the effect on the work or service if the person was unable to come; and
• Why it is not possible to re-deploy workers already in New Zealand (this could include
time constraints or the specific nature of the work or service to be done); and
• The situation of the staff (if any) currently performing the role(s), and whether they can
remain or not in the roles; and
• The length of the visa required and the reason for that length of visa.
What is unique experience and technical/specialist skil s?
Unique or specialist skills include, but are not limited to, whether these skil s or experience:
• Have been gained in a specialist training institution or by working in a highly specialist firm.
• Can be demonstrated through global experience.
• Are inherent to a person.
What should I consider when making this assessment?
Factors to consider include, but are not limited to, whether:
• There are no workers in the country who could perform the role OR
• There is a very limited pool of available workers who could perform the role and they are
not available to the employer.
• Applications for seasonal workers will generally not be approved under these instructions.
The only exceptions will be if the nature of the work is highly skilled or uniquely specialised.
• Examples of workers meeting this standard may include: some highly specialist
veterinarians, vendor-appointed engineers required to install major equipment, or an actor
in a key film role.
How do we know these are not obtainable in New Zealand?
• Refer to the information provided by the employer and outline this in the assessment
• There are three checks that should be completed (listed in ‘processing tips’ below) when
assessing these EOIs. Consider how credible the information given is compared to the
information found by doing these checks.
What is a ‘time-critical’ role?
• "Time critical" includes if the person does not come to New Zealand, the project, work or
event will cease or be severely compromised, or significant costs will be incurred.
• Does this person need to be here before the New Zealand borders open?
• There is no specific timeframe set on this, however the employee needs to be essential to
the starting, continuation or completion of the role.
What is an approved major infrastructure project?
• There is a specific list, outlined in instructions H5.30.10.
What is a government approved event/programme or government to government agreement?
• There is a specific list, outlined in instructions H5.30.15.
How do we determine if the role has a significant wider benefit to the national or regional
• Consider the impact of this person not coming to New Zealand to fulfil their role- will the
project be stal ed or unable to be completed entirely?
• Mention if the employer has listed a dollar value for the project and the employee’s
contribution to it.
• What is the outcome of the employee completing this role?
• As a starting point, the fol owing checks should be done when assessing the EOI:
o Look up the Client Contacts Report (CCR) for the employer.
o Check Companies Office
to confirm the company’s existence/history.
o Do a general Google search on the company/refer to their website.
• The NZBN should be listed on the INZ1263 form, the company’s AMS client record or can be
found on the Companies Office website.
• If the employer has information warnings or concerns are noted, this should be reflected in
the assessment template in the ‘any other notes’ section.
• An employment agreement does not need to be sighted at EOI stage, however wil be
requested when an ITA is issued.
• Remember that a high wage (i.e. above the median salary) doesn’t necessarily reflect the
need for that employee to travel to New Zealand.
• If no/minimal information is provided in the INZ1263 form, you do not need to request this,
however highlight it in the assessment template.
Filling out the Template
Summary of the work the business undertakes.
This can include:
• Industry/sector the business operates in.
• Scope of the business (employee size, number of sites in NZ/offshore).
• How many people are currently doing the role currently?
• Product/service they provide.
• Any specific projects the business is involved in currently e.g. creation of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Frequently Asked Questions- EOIs
Do AMS notes need to be entered for Henderson Office
al of the employees included in the
At EOI stage, a client ID and
AMS notes only needs to be
created for the employer.
The employer has mentioned that
We require the employee(s)
their employee wishes to bring their
(and their dependents) name
dependents, however has not
at EOI stage.
provided their details.
To do this- contact the
One employee appears to meet
If one employee appears to
Critical Worker requirements but not
meet Critical Worker
the other. What do I do?
instructions but not another,
this will need to be clear in
the assessment template.
I don’t know much about the sector
Yes, this an option, however
the employer operates in. Can I
contact your Immigration
contact a lead agency for advice?
Manager in the first instance.
The employee has requested an
Citizens and residents who
exception for their New Zealand
have been in NZ as residents
citizen/resident employee. Do I
can be refused outright as
proceed with the assessment?
citizens can’t be granted a
visa, and ‘activated’ residents
don’t need to be approved as
Use the template found here
to communicate this.
Offshore residents who have
not had their residence visas
activated still require a critical
purpose to travel to New
Zealand so may still apply
through this process.
The employee appears to meet other Henderson Office
Consult a TA in the first
Critical Purpose instructions (e.g.
Critical Health Worker, Ordinarily
Resident Australian), can I issue an
We can ITA on the other
ITA straight away on this basis?
grounds, however we must be
relatively certain that they
meet the requirements of the
The employer has stated they won’t
Ensure this information is
pay for the quarantine requirements
captured in the assessment
for their employee.
template under ‘any other
I have located an employee in AMS
and note that they have serious a
bona fide/character/health issue but
The assessment you complete
potential y meets a critical purpose.
and subsequent National
Manager decision is subject to
all relevant temporary entry
visa requirements being met
at the time of assessment.
You don’t need to outline this
in the referral assessment.
The employee earns above the
Yes- there is no hourly rate for
median salary but this is based on a
this salary requirement.
60 hour work week. Does this meet
Visa Conditions and Validity
• Under these instructions, an applicant can be granted a Critical Purpose Visitor visa for up to
6 months OR a maximum of 12 months provided a CXR isn’t required.
• A Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions can be granted for a duration in line with their
• Generally, Critical Purpose Visitor visas should be granted as single entry visas. If you think a
multiple entry visa should be granted, consult a Technical Advisor.
• Variation of Condition visas should be granted as multiple entry- if the visa is activated do
not put a first entry date on it.
• If the applicant is a dependent of a Critical Worker, the visa they are granted should not be
valid for longer than their partner’s visa in New Zealand.
• There are some visa types that will lose their original visa conditions if a Critical Purpose
Variation of Conditions is raised on top of their original visa. This is because their ‘expiry
date stay’ date cannot be altered in AMS. In these cases, a Critical Purpose Visitor visa will
need to be raised and the applicant informed that their original visa conditions (multiple
entry) will not apply to the new visa.
• For those who meet the ‘under 6 month’ requirement but are staying for a much shorter
period, e.g. 6 weeks, still issue a 6 month visa. This is due to the current issues with flight
• Any applicant approved under the Critical Worker category, their employer and occupation
be recorded on the visa label.