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Immigrating to New Zealand for software developers

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New Zealand’s tech sector is growing rapidly and it is a conducive environment for software developers. It is the country’s third-largest export sector and growing fast.

Critical Tech Worker Class Exception

ITPNZ operates the industry nomination process for the Tech Worker Exception of the Critical Purpose Visitor Visa.

In partnership with NZTech, IT Professionals New Zealand validates whether a company, role, and worker meet the industry requirements for the Class Exception and if so, nominates you for the Exception Process.

What is the “Critical Worker – Tech Class Exception”?

In December 2021 the New Zealand Government approved a Class Exception for certain tech workers to come to New Zealand as critical workers.

This means that eligible companies may bring eligible people to New Zealand as “Other Critical Workers” holding a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa, provided they meet the criteria and are nominated by the industry via the process outlined here.

The Class Exception allows for 600 workers who, if eligible, may bring partners and children with them. All applications are also subject to general immigration requirements such as character and health criteria.

Immigration NZ has said that those holding a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa through this Exception, and who meet other requirements such as arriving in NZ before 31 July 2022, are eligible to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa without having to meet the settled, skilled or scarce criteria.

Critical Tech Work Class Exception Process

IT Professionals NZ is managing the Nomination Process for Tech “Other Critical Workers” on behalf of the industry. This involves a validation process with information about the role, the worker, and the company.

Applications will generally be processed in the order they are received, but with priority given to companies and agencies also contributing to skills development in New Zealand. Most applications will be processed within 10 working days, but it may take longer to process applications if a larger queue has developed.

The list of those nominated will be transferred to Immigration NZ fortnightly, at which point the process continues directly with Immigration NZ. The company submits a Request for Travel as a nominated company and if successful, the worker will be invited to apply for the Critical Purpose Visitor Visa.

 Industry Nomination Eligibility

2 sets of criteria will be validated before an Industry Nomination can be issued:

  • Cabinet-endorsed Requirements for the Role: is in one of the Categories, including their synonyms, covered by the exception, and meets salary requirements.
  • Expectations of the individual: has appropriate experience and education for the role.
  • Priority will be given to applications from companies that: are engaged with a program to support domestic skills growth, and are supporting the tech sector ecosystem by being an active member of a relevant industry body.
  • Company expectations only apply to companies with 5+ staff. These expectations have been set to ensure that those using the immigration exception are also actively involved in building the domestic talent pipeline.

Roles covered by the Exception

The Class Exception doesn’t cover every tech-related role – just those that have been deemed by the industry as being in the highest demand.

The role Categories, including their synonyms covered by the exception, are:

  • Software and Application Programmers (ANZSCO 2613)
  • ICT Managers (ANZSCO 1351)
  • ICT Security Specialist (ANZSCO 2621)
  • Multimedia Specialists (ANZSCO 2612)

The role being offered must also have a salary of at least $120,000 (NZD) for Categories 1-3 above, or a salary of at least $95,000 (NZD) for Category 4. This must be a base salary – bonuses, share options, or other kinds of remuneration aren’t counted.

These categories include roles that fall within the following ANZSCO occupation definitions such as 261313 Software Developers.

Note that these are the overall occupations as per the ANZSCO codes, however, the Exception also applies to all synonyms, for instance, Product Manager.

The Nomination Process

The process of applying for a nomination is quick and easy:

  • A company submits a nomination request through this process for a particular role and worker.
  • ITPNZ validates the request on behalf of the industry.
  • If the request meets the criteria, ITPNZ issues an Industry Nomination for a particular company, role, and worker.
  • The process then continues with Immigration New Zealand through a Request to Travel and then a Visa application.

Cost of the Validation and Nomination Process

The nomination and validation process is operated on a cost-recovery model, with a cost of $49+GST.

Note that this cost is for the nomination and validation process only and doesn’t include any Immigration NZ costs. Also, obtaining a nomination or Visa does not provide a MIQ place – this is a separate cost, although MIQ will soon not be required.

Qualifications Assessment for LTSSL

ITPNZ can undertake a qualification assessment to help provide evidence you meet New Zealand’s Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL) requirements.

IT Professionals New Zealand (ITPNZ) provides a service confirming whether your degree-level or higher qualification, in conjunction with subsequent learning, meets the benchmark educational requirements for Chartered IT Professional NZ (CITPNZ) certification, one of the requirements of the LTSSL.

Importance of Doing ITP Qualification Recognition Process

  • Immigration New Zealand or NZQA requests it for your visa application
  • You want to show you meet this requirement as listed in New Zealand’s Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL).
  • You want to know how your qualification, or base qualification and subsequent learning, compare to New Zealand industry expectations using the CITPNZ benchmark requirements.
  • A potential employer or education provider requests that you undergo this process to assess your qualifications against the CITPNZ benchmark requirements.

Qualification requirements

To be recognized as meeting the benchmark requirements of CITPNZ, your qualification(s) must be:

  • at the right level (NZQF level 7 Degree or above), and
  • when combined with subsequent learning, meet the content benchmark requirements for CITPNZ

If you are undertaking this qualification recognition process for immigration purposes, you will need to qualify equivalent to Level 7 on the NZ Qualifications Framework as a minimum requirement, the equivalent of a New Zealand Bachelor’s Degree. This does not have to be a strictly computing/IT degree, provided it is relevant to working in technology and you meet the rest of the benchmark requirements through subsequent learning.

For example, an advanced mathematics degree that is relevant but not specifically focused on Computing or IT, alongside additional sufficient IT-related learning and evidence that the learnings from the degree have been used in a technology context for instance AI, would likely meet the benchmark requirements. However, the degree on its own would likely not be sufficient.

Determining the level

The NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA) solely determines the level of your overseas qualifications compared to the NZ Qualifications Framework. Before you can start the Qualification Recognition process, your qualification will need to meet one of these requirements:

  • Be a degree issued by a New Zealand institution and at Level 7 or above on the NZ Qualifications Framework.
  • Be from overseas and have been accredited under the Seoul Accord program.
  • Be from overseas and be on NZQA’s List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment.
  • Undertake an International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) with NZQA and have been assessed as equivalent to a Level 7 or above qualification.

Qualification content requirements

We use an interpretation of the Seoul Accord graduate attributes as a base for assessment of whether applicants meet the benchmark academic requirements for CITPNZ. The Seoul Accord is the global degree accreditation program run by professional bodies.

This means that your qualification and subsequent learning must be sufficient to allow you to apply knowledge of computing fundamentals, knowledge of a computing specialization, mathematics, science, and appropriate domain knowledge to defined technology problems and requirements. This needs to be accomplished to a suitably high level of complexity and depth.

There are 10 criteria that the qualification and learning must satisfy to meet this requirement and therefore meet the benchmark educational requirements for CITPNZ. These are contained in the Qualification Recognition Guide.

Process of applying for Qualification Recognition

  • The Qualification Recognition service has the following steps. More details are in the Qualification Recognition Guide.
  • Provide evidence that your qualification is at the correct level. This may involve undertaking an International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) with NZQA. If so, this must be completed before you apply for Qualification Recognition from ITP.
  • Please note that the qualification assessment process cannot be started unless this requirement has been met first. If you need to undertake an IQA with NZQA, you need to complete this before undertaking the Qualification Recognition process.
  • Collect evidence that the content of your qualifications meets the requirements. This includes an official transcript, official letter from your institution, or another such document, as well as details of content as outlined in the Evidence Document. If these are in a language other than English, an English language translation must also be provided.
  • Complete the ITPNZ Evidence Document to outline how your qualifications and subsequent learning meet the educational benchmark requirements for CITPNZ.
  • Submit your application online, including uploading the above documents and paying the processing fee.
  • Your application will be assigned to an assessor who will assess it within 14 days. Assessments may take longer if there is heavy demand if further information is requested.
  • The assessor may request additional information if there is insufficient evidence of meeting the benchmark educational requirements of CITPNZ. In this circumstance, you will have one opportunity to submit additional information before the final determination is made.
  • An official letter outlining whether or not your qualification meets the benchmark educational requirements for CITPNZ will be issued after the assessment.

Cost of the Qualification Recognition service

The qualification recognition service involves a detailed assessment of whether your qualification and other certifications meet the benchmark educational requirements for CITPNZ. There is a processing fee of $NZD650 for this service which covers the cost of assessment and issuing the letter.

Appeals and other options

A comprehensive assessment is done as part of this Qualification Recognition service, including an experienced and expert assessor reviewing all material. Once a decision has been made, no further correspondence is made and no appeal process is available. We can only re-evaluate if circumstances change for instance when there are additional qualifications.

Please note that a confirmation letter is also issued without this assessment if you hold CITPNZ and a Level 7 qualification.

No need for assessment if you hold CITPNZ

If you hold current CITPNZ certification, as well as a degree that NZQA has found to be at Level 7 or above a letter is issued confirming that you meet these requirements without further assessment as you have already been assessed as meeting the benchmark requirements. In this circumstance there is no processing fee for providing this letter, however, please contact the office directly rather than applying.

The CITPNZ application and assessment process are different and also take into consideration “on the job” learning and practice-based factors, confirming whether you are operating at the level of a senior IT Professional. There is a cost to apply for CITPNZ.

Become an ITP Member

When you immigrate to New Zealand, ITP provides great opportunities to meet with other IT professionals from New Zealand and around the world. ITP has thousands of members, runs over 200 events each year, plus provides mentors, and much more.

You don’t have to wait until you’re in New Zealand to join ITP – you’re welcome to join now.

If you are a software developer, the ITP community has been built by and for people like you. It helps those who work in tech to get ahead by recognizing professional practice, organizing events and short courses every year, facilitating mentoring, and providing a voice to the Government and others.

Two Things That ITP Does

  • develops professionals and the professional community.
  • works on behalf of the community as both the voice to the Government and via a broad range of other initiatives.

So as well as gaining access to a heap of direct benefits designed to move your career forwards, as an ITP member you’re part of a community making a real difference in New Zealand.

ITP membership grades

ITP membership is simple. There are three membership grades to choose from.

Within these grades IT, P offers discounted membership for students, new industry entrants, retired members, and school teachers.


The associate is usually the entry point to ITP membership and is generally for professionals new to the Institute or in the first few years of their professional career.

Associates commit to professionalism, agree to abide by the ITP Code of Ethics, and commit to continue to develop themselves professionally.

Associates Privileges

  • Access all benefits of ITP membership.
  • Apply for Certified Technologist, if eligible.
  • Be elected to Branch Committees.
  • Attend ITP events at member rates.

Commitment From Associates

  • Abide by the ITP Code of Ethics.


  • Anyone who agrees to abide by the ITP Code of Ethics may join the Institute as an Associate.

Member (MIITP)

Full Members are those with extensive supervisory or senior experience in the field of IT. Members are expected to be active in the community of IT professionals. MIITP stands for Member of the Institute of IT Professionals which is ITP’s legal name.

Members Privileges

  • Access all benefits of ITP membership
  • Use the post-nominal “MIITP” for example the initials after a name on a business card or email signature to indicate professional membership
  • Apply for Chartered IT Professional NZ or Certified Technologist, if eligible.
  • Use the ITP logo on business cards or stastationerycording to ITP guidelines.
  • Be elected to Branch Committees or the National Board
  • Attend ITP events at member rates

Commitment by Members

  • Abide by the IITP Code of Ethics and this includes being accountable for breaches of the Code.
  • Continually develop themselves professionally, and complete at least 20 hours of CPD per year


  • Hold a degree that contains IT-related papers at least to the second year of study, and have at least 4 years’ full-time IT experience including 2 years in a senior position.
  • If you are not a holder of a degree but have 10 years of experience as a full-time software developer, of which 3 years were in a senior position.

Application Process

You can start the application process online.

Note that full membership requires two referees. These referees don’t have to be ITP members. They can be anyone in a senior IT or management role.

Fellow (FIITP)

Fellows hold a position of eminence or authority within the discipline of IT. Fellowship is achieved only after a comprehensive advancement process. Members cannot join immediately as a Fellow because you must be a member for 2 years first. FIITP stands for Fellow of the Institute of IT Professionals. This is ITP’s legal name.

Get certified

IT Professionals NZ provides professional certifications for those working in the IT industry:

  • Certified Technologist (CTech), for those who work in the tech sector.
  • Chartered IT Professional NZ (CITPNZ), for senior IT Professionals.
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