New Zealand Immigration Glossary

/ / Your Visa Application

New Zealand Immigration GlossaryImmigration to New Zealand is an adventure countless families from around the world undertake each year in search of a better life.

It’s no simple task though, this immigration business. Many hopeful immigrants don’t even know where to start!

The process isn’t made any simpler by the foreign terms and phrases found in immigration material.

That’s why we compiled a New Zealand immigration glossary, to help you understand various terminologies associated with emigrating to Australia’s neighbour.

Below you’ll find the full list of words and phrases plus their meanings. Why don’t you contact us when you’re done reading and we’ll also tell you the best way to start your immigration?

Acceptable qualification

An acceptable qualification for a post-study work visa:

  • Is a New Zealand qualification listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).
  • Involves 60 weeks of study at Levels 4 to 6, or 30 weeks or more of study at Level 7 and above.

Accredited employer

This is a New Zealand employer, who has accreditation to employ people under the New Zealand Work Policy, approved by the NZIS.

Adult child

This refers to a child who is 17 years of age or older.


The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. It is published on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website and it is the system Immigration New Zealand use to check:

  • The skill levels of jobs.
  • The qualifications and/or experience needed to work in those jobs.


Biometrics is a means of identifying and authenticating a person through features of that person’s body. The most common examples of this are:

  • Fingerprints.
  • Face structure (photos).

Certified copy

A photocopy stamped or signed by a person as a true copy of the original. The certifier must be authorized by law to take statutory declarations in your home country or in New Zealand. Examples of such persons are lawyers, Justice of the Peace, and court officials.

Civil union

Civil unions may be between partners of the same or opposite sex. A civil union has the same property and civil rights as a marriage.

Close family

You or your partner’s adult brothers or sisters, adult children or parents are considered close family members.

De facto partner

A person who is living in a genuine and stable relationship with their partner, for a minimum of 12 consecutive months.

EOI – Expression of Interest

When you are looking to immigrate to New Zealand, everything is dependent on your points score. This is obtained by an assessment in order to determine your eligibility.

The Expression of Interest (EOI) is the initial application stage for New Zealand immigration. Applicants under the skilled migration category will need to complete an Expression of Interest.

If you meet the criteria for the points score, you’ll be able to submit an Expression of Interest.

Essential Skills in Demand Lists

The Essential Skills in Demand Lists details the occupations in New Zealand in need of qualified and experienced talent. There are three lists:

  • Long Term Skills Shortage List
  • Immediate Skills Shortage List
  • Construction and Infrastructure Skills Shortage List.

Full birth certificate

A full birth certificate includes your full name, you date and place of birth, and your parents’ full names.

Full-time job

A job where you work at least 30 hours a week.

Full-time study

Full-time study is where you either:

  • Attend a course at a private training establishment for at least 20 hours a week; or
  • Enroll for at least three papers, or equivalent, each semester at a University or Polytechnic, or a level 7 or higher qualification at a private training establishment.

Genuine and stable partnership

A relationship that has been entered into on a long term and exclusive basis, and that is likely to last.

Good health

To be eligible for immigration to New Zealand, you must be in good health which means you must meet certain health requirements as determined by Immigration New Zealand. You’ll be considered in good health if you’re:

  • Unlikely to be a danger to the health of the people already in New Zealand.
  • Unlikely to be a financial burden on the New Zealand health or special education services.
  • Able to work or study if this is the reason for your visa.


The International English Language Testing System. You may be required to do this English language test to demonstrate that you can speak, read, write and listen in English.

Immigration Advisers Authority

People who give New Zealand immigration advice must be licensed with The Immigration Advisers Authority unless they are exempt. This is a requirement by law.


Immigration New Zealand. INZ is part of the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and is responsible for border control, issuing travel visas and managing immigration to New Zealand.

Invitation to Apply

This simply refers to a stage of the skilled migration visa application process. If you meet certain criteria, you will receive an Invitation to Apply.

Labour market test

Labour market tests are conducted by Immigration New Zealand before granting a work visa under the skilled migrant visa category. The purpose of this test is to check whether:

  • An employer has made a genuine attempt to attract and recruit suitable New Zealanders for a job.
  • There are any suitable New Zealanders to do a job, or who can be trained to do a job.

Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL)

This is a list of long term and highly skilled occupations which there is a shortage of and a strong demand in the New Zealand. Should your occupation be on this list, then you could prospectively qualify for the skilled migrant visa.

Licensed immigration adviser

Licensed immigration advisers for New Zealand have specialised expertise. They have met competency standards and they follow a professional code of conduct.

Advisers are able to help you in the following ways:

  • Explore your visa options.
  • Prepare your visa application.
  • Settle into New Zealand.
  • Determine if you can appeal a declined visa.
  • Determine your options if you are in New Zealand unlawfully.

Migration points

The majority of visa options will require you to be assessed against a point’s criterion in order to determine if you qualify or not.

Minimum threshold

The minimum threshold is the lowest number of points you need to score for your Expression of Interest to enter the Expression of Interest pool. This threshold is currently set at 100 points.

New Zealand Qualifications Authority

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is a government agency responsible for:

  • Setting the standards for New Zealand qualifications and recognising overseas qualifications.
  • Administering the New Zealand Qualifications Framework and assessing overseas qualifications against it.

Non-principal applicants

These are anyone included in a visa application that is not the principal applicant. For example, the applicant’s partner or dependent children.

Occupational registration

Registration with a New Zealand registration authority that allows you to work in a particular occupation in New Zealand.

Offer of employment

An offer of employment is a genuine and sustainable opportunity. The physical offer must include the following:

  • Name, address, telephone and/or fax number of the employer.
  • Name and address of the person to whom the job offer is extended.
  • A full job description including details such as the job title, the type of work, duties and responsibilities involved, and details pay and conditions of employment. Please note this is not the full set of criteria for the job description.


A person you are legally married to, or in a civil union or de facto relationship with, and who you live with in a genuine and stable partnership. Partners can be of the same or opposite sex.

Principal applicant

This is the primary person who will be assessed against the criteria of a resident visa.

Recognised qualification

Qualifications that are recognised based on:

  • An assessment by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.
  • The NZQF level as set out in the ‘List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment’.
  • The NZQF level based on your occupational registration in New Zealand.


This refers to a person who holds a current New Zealand residence permit or alternatively a New Zealand returning resident’s visa.

Skilled employment

Employment that you need specialist, technical or management expertise and relevant qualifications and/or work experience to do, and which meets a minimum pay threshold.

Skilled migration

New Zealand requires a certain amount of skilled workers that it needs to attract from overseas. Individuals will need to meet a certain set of criteria in terms of their profession, experience, skills and qualifications. If these criteria are met, the applicant is classified as a skilled migrant.


A guarantee from a person, organisation or government agency to look after you while you visit, study, work or settle in New Zealand. If your stay is temporary, your sponsor must also guarantee the cost of your return home.

Student visa

If you wish to study in New Zealand as a foreign student, you will need to obtain a student visa for New Zealand.

Substantial invest

This refers to the purchase of at least a minimum requirement of 25% or more of the shareholding of the business.


Your New Zealand visa shows that you’re able to travel to, or stay in New Zealand temporarily or indefinitely.

Visa waiver country

If you are coming from a visa waiver country to New Zealand, you will not need to obtain a visitor’s visa before you travel.


An activity you perform for which you are remunerated either in salary or wagers, or another benefit like accommodation, food or transport. There are certain activities which are not considered as ‘work’ – please consult with our advisers if you’d like to find out what these activities are.

Work to Residence

You may have outstanding talent in a certain area, such as sports, art or culture. You could then apply to work in New Zealand under the Work to Residence programme.

This will help you gain access to being able to work on a temporary basis in New Zealand. The work visa obtained in this regard can be used as a tool to gain permanent residency.



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