Rest homes are starting to lose valuable workers as stricter immigration rules bite, says the Aged Care Association.
Kaitaia therapist, Juliet Garcia, has worked for 10 years but can't get residence.
She's just one example of immigration rules affecting the sector, said chief executive of the Aged Care Association, Simon Wallace.
The Filipino aged care worker worries her work visa will not be renewed next year.
Mr Wallace said some migrant workers are being put off by new 3-year limits to visas, and the fact they can no longer bring their partners.
"They're a valuable part of the New Zealand way of life and we're also seeing, the Kaitaia case is a good example of migrant workers out in more rural, regional areas of New Zealand where we need them.
"We just cannot afford to lose people from those sorts of areas."
He said some regions have no local workers to fill such gaps.