NZVA's work on getting overseas veterinarians into NZ

The NZVA board decided recently the number one priority for NZVA is working to alleviate the critical shortage of veterinarians in New Zealand. We are doing this by lobbying Ministers and officials to streamline the processes for bringing overseas veterinarians into New Zealand. We are also seeking expressions of interest from overseas veterinarians to match with potential employers.

During the last month, we have achieved a lot towards making this priority a reality.

Critical worker visas

There are currently three “critical worker” visas available for veterinarians. 

1.  Worker for short term role

A worker coming into New Zealand for a short term role (less than 6 months).

2.  Worker for long term role

A worker coming to New Zealand for the long term (six months or longer) is considered an ‘other critical worker’ if they meet one of the criteria for short term workers and:

  • they earn at least twice the median salary (currently NZD $106,080 a year), or
  • they have a role essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a government funded or partially government-funded contract, including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and has the support of the Science, Innovation and International Branch at MBIE to travel to New Zealand to carry out their work, or
  • they are undertaking a role essential for the delivery or execution of:
    • a government-approved event, or
    • major government-approved programme, or
    • approved major infrastructure project.

3.  Approved Class Worker

A worker coming to New Zealand may be considered an ‘other critical worker’ if they:

  • are in a class of worker approved by Government Ministers
  • have been nominated by an authorised government agency or an industry group – a list of nominated workers will be provided to Immigration New Zealand.

Immigration NZ do not make nominations or accept requests to be nominated. Employers must first engage with the relevant government agency or industry group (NZVA) before submitting a request.

30 approved veterinarians

In September 2020, the Minister granted exemptions for 30 large/mixed animal veterinarians under Approved Class Worker Visa Category.  We have been working with MPI and Immigration NZ to fill these places with 25 veterinarians in the process, or already receiving entry, via this exemption. If you are in talks with an overseas large animal veterinarian and want to know more about the visa process, please contact megan.miller@vets.org.nz.

Companion Animal Veterinarians

Unfortunately, companion animal veterinarians were not included in the 30 approved veterinarians (MPI requirement). We are currently working with MPI on supporting documentation for companion animal veterinarians to apply for the ‘other critical worker’ visas.

Current vacancies

We recently surveyed NZVA and VCNZ members to determine the current vacancy gap in New Zealand. The results show there are currently 120 vacant roles nationwide. We are currently calling for expressions of interest from overseas veterinarians. Once we a list of interested overseas veterinarians, we will connect interested parties with potential veterinary employers. 

Other progress

In the last month, we have:

  • sent a briefing paper to the incoming Ministers of Agriculture and Immigration, supported by an infographic illustrating the extent of the shortage [link to infographic on website]
  • developed advertising material to help attract overseas veterinarians
  • sent the advertising material to hundreds of overseas contacts who will disseminate it through their channels
  • created a webpage and form on our website, where interested overseas veterinarians can express their interest in working in New Zealand. We contacted VCNZ to determine the criteria to be included on the form
  • started a boosted social media campaign [link to tonight's post] targeting veterinarians in countries most similar to our own
  • sent an email to NZVA members setting out our planned activity
  • written a VetScript article on the veterinary shortage.

Please share our veterinary shortage webpage with your overseas veterinarian contacts.