Veterinary shortage – confirmation of border exception application process

Following on from the Government’s decision to grant 50 border exceptions to veterinarians, the New Zealand Veterinary Association has been working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to determine the process for these exceptions.

Exception criteria

  • Veterinarians must be registered with the Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ). Details on recognised qualifications can be found on the VCNZ website.
  • Veterinarians must be paid a minimum salary of NZ$85,000.
  • Veterinarians must have three - five years relevant work experience.

Please note: companion animal, equine, large animal and mixed veterinarians are all able to apply for a border exception.

To ensure a robust process is followed and that all veterinarians meet the outlined criteria, MPI have requested that the NZVA manage applications.

Application process

  1. Employers interested in securing a spot contact the NZVA liaison, Megan Miller, on or DDI 04 831 1605.
  2. The veterinarian signs an employment contract with the employer and obtains registration with VCNZ. Places cannot be reserved unless employers are in final negotiations with an applicant who meets all criteria.
  3. 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. 
  4. MPI approves applicants and names of the approved individuals are given to Immigration NZ.
  5. Employer/ veterinarian makes an expression of interest for “an approved class of worker” with Immigration NZ.
  6. Immigration NZ matches the expression of interest applications with the list of approved individuals supplied by MPI and the application progresses.

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

Other long term critical work 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 the EOI form and selecting “To get workers with unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in NZ”.
We are happy to give you some advice on applying for long term critical work visas.

Other information

Individuals are still required to complete two weeks in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) on arrival into New Zealand.

Further information on MIQ

If you have any questions regarding any of the above, please contact Megan on or DDI 04 831 1605.