Putting candidate care first

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 Te Whatu Ora 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 existing staff of Te Whatu Ora, new employees and in 2023, a plan will be developed to support those in the wider health sector.

For Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand employees only

  • Free immigration advice provided by Licensed Immigration Advisors for more complex visa situations.
  • 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 Support

  • Free immigration advice provided by Licensed Immigration Advisors for more complex visa situations to support candidates’ employment with Te Whatu Ora
Relocation Support
  • Facilitating end to end relocation of migrants
  • Helping new employees and their families with packing and transportation
  • Accommodation assistance on arrival
Settlement Support
  • Providing new employees settlement information about local communities and services
  • Early access to Cultural competency information and training

Meet our team

The International Recruitment Centre consists of our central program staff and sits within Te Whatu Ora’s Health Workforce Directorate.


A new team has been established to set up and implement the new service. Our small team of Licensed Immigration Advisors and skilled coordinators are supported by an immigration specialist from Immigration New Zealand.

They have helped us in the development of processes and procedures that will ensure we meet our accredited employer status.

Immigration New Zealand's Green List

The Immigration New Zealand Green List  is a list of 89 occupations that qualify for a fast-track to residence or have access to a work to residence pathway.

A range of jobs are on the list, including health workers, vets, engineers, and ICT specialists. From 5 September 2022 medical roles on Tier 1 of the Green List may qualify for the ‘Straight to Residence’ Visa. Processing times with Immigration NZ for this visa are 6-10 weeks, provided all information is submitted.

Alternatively, candidates can come to New Zealand on a Work Visa first and apply for a ‘Straight to Residence Visa’ later.

When the first recruitment campaign starts

Te Whatu Ora’s first major international recruitment campaign begins in November.  The creative part of the campaign initially targets the countries with whom we have equivalency of registration pathways.

In general, these are also the countries from where a significant portion of our internationally qualified migrants come. Alongside the creative campaign we are working with Immigration New Zealand to direct message health professionals who have showed an interest in coming to New Zealand. This aspect of the campaign will cover all countries.

All health professionals who respond to any of our international recruitment activities will be included in the services provided by the International Recruitment Centre.

District Champions have been created to be local points of contact and stewards of the international recruitment campaign. They are a critical part ensuring that the international recruitment campaign is delivered effectively, and that applicants are converted into new hires.

District Champions will have insight into how campaign processes will integrate into each specific region. They will be equipped with resources and tools to help districts with aspects of work visa applications and our obligations as an accredited employer with Immigration New Zealand.

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.

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.