Return to Nursing Workforce Support Fund

The Ministry of Health has launched a support fund to help New Zealand-based 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.

Last updated: 19 May 2022

This provides support for employers to fund:

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

Round 2 of applications will open between 30 May and 20 June 2022. An online application form will be available on this page as soon as applications are open.

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 applied 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. Student nurses currently completing undergraduate or graduate entry qualifications are also not eligible for this funding.

Funding

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

Funding element

Funding max

CAP/ Individual programme/orientation  

$5,000

English language Proficiency test costs and/or coaching 

$2,500

CGFNS application fee  

$450

Declaration of fitness/ Criminal record check 

$160

Application to Nursing Council for Registration  

$485

Other individual costs (e.g. childcare, transport, uniform)  

$5,000

Funding 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.

Round 1 of applications

The first round of applications for this funding closed on March 14, 2022. 362 applications were received in total, and 65 nurses were accepted in total.

$380,000 of funding will be distributed to 42 providers as part of this first round of applications, nearly three quarters of which is being used to help fill nursing vacancies in aged residential care facilities.

Breakdown of successful applications by sector for round 1

Sector

Successful Applications

Aged Residential Care

47

Community Health Provider

10

District Health Board

5

Non-Governmental Organisation

3

Grand Total

65

Breakdown of unsuccessful applications by reason for round 1

Reason

Unsuccessful Applications

Did not meet eligibility requirements

114

Had not started the registration process, and it couldn’t be determined by the Ministry of Health whether they could successfully gain registration.

145

Too early in the registration process, and it couldn’t be determined by the Ministry of Health whether they could successfully gain registration.

23

Were provisionally accepted but weren't able to provide sufficient evidence to support their application 11

Duplicate application

4

Round 2 of applications

Round 2 of applications will open between 30 May and 20 June 2022. An online application form will be available on this page as soon as applications are open.

Further information

If you have any further questions or need any more information about the Return to Nursing Workforce Support Fund, please email the team [email protected] and your query will be responded to within five working days.

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