A doctor says leaving the country and flying back in is the only way for her to be eligible for the government's one-off residence visa.

Some overseas medical staff in hospitals and aged-care facilities are among those whose visa of type excludes them being one of next year's 165,000 new residents.

But critical workers who arrive at the border between now and July will be eligible for fast-track permanent settlement, prompting some to consider the unusual option of leaving New Zealand in order to become residents.

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