The NZACA has worked closely with the Ministry of Health to develop the criteria for a support fund to help nurses who are not currently practising to return to a nursing role, in order to help grow the workforce to meet increased demand, support safe staffing, and improve access to care. We urge any member who currently employs an IQN as an HCA to discuss this fund with them and encourage the HCA apply.

This fund will provide support for:

  • competence assessment programmes;
  • individual return to practice programmes and orientation;
  • English language proficiency support;
  • other associated costs for nurses to return to practice.

The first round of applications opens between 14 February and 14 March, 2022, with a second round of applications in May 2022.

Qualifying for the fund

The nurse applicant must be:

  • a New Zealand Enrolled or Registered Nurse without a current Annual Practising Certificate (APC) looking to return to a nursing role at an Aged Residential Care (ARC) provider, District Health Board (DHB) or non-government organisation (NGO); or
  • an Internationally Qualified Nurse who is currently working as a Health Care Assistant/Support worker for an ARC provider, DHB, or NGO, and is intending to work for the employer as an Enrolled or Registered Nurse.

The nurse applicant must also be:

  • a New Zealand citizen;
  • a New Zealand resident-class visa holder; or
  • have been contacted by Immigration New Zealand to confirm they are eligible to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa.

Any internationally qualified nurses who are not currently based in New Zealand, are on a temporary visa, or are not interested in working for an ARC provider, DHB, or NGO are not eligible for this funding.

The application process

All applications need to be filled out by the nurse applicant’s current or intended employer (with the nurse applicant’s consent and input). The online application form will be available here on 14 February.

Please have the following information available to support your application:

Evidence of the nurse applicant’s residency status, with a copy of their:

  • passport or birth certificate to prove their New Zealand citizenship
  • New Zealand resident visa to prove their residency status
  • a letter/email from Immigration New Zealand confirming that they’re eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa.

Evidence of where on the pathway the nurse applicant currently is with one of the following:

  • A letter from the Nursing Council that specifies what they require to attain registration;
  • An acceptance letter for a Competency Assessment Programme, individualised programme or orientation programme;
  • Copy of Nursing programme transcript or evidence of registration as a nurse; or
  • Evidence of application to CGFNS (if no letter from Nursing Council)

If the nurse applicant doesn’t know where they are on the pathway to registration – they can contact the Nursing Council of New Zealand via their Contact us page to clarify.


The funding covers up to a maximum of $5,000 per nurse applicant across the following elements:

A maximum of 200 nurses are available to get this funding, and will be prioritised based on the following areas:

  • Addressing workforce inequities – nurse applicants who identify as Māori or Pacific will be prioritised in this area.
  • Addressing critical workforce shortages – nurse applicants who are working in Aged Residential Care will be prioritised in this area.
  • Speed of registration – nurse applicants who have a less complex pathway to registration and can therefore become a practising nurse faster will be prioritised in this area.

Further information

If you have any further questions or need any more information about the Return to Nursing Workforce Support Fund, please visit