New Zealand work visas: These are your options

/ / Working in New Zealand

new zealand work visas

Did you know there are five New Zealand work visas that allow migrants to work in the country?

Each of these visas has specific requirements and offers either immediate residency, a pathway to residency or permission to enter New Zealand for short-term assignments.

To determine which visa you qualify for, you’d have to do an immigration assessment with a licensed advisor. Before we tell you how to do that, let’s look at the different New Zealand work visas.

Immediate residency

The Skilled Migrant visa and the partner visa offer immediate residency, i.e. you’re granted permanent resident status if your visa application is successful.

1. Skilled Migrant visa

The Skilled Migrant visa allows you to work in New Zealand, but only if you can meet these criteria:

  • You’re 55 or younger
  • Your occupation is on a skills shortage list
  • Your skills, experience and qualifications satisfy Immigration New Zealand’s requirements for your occupation
  • You have a job offer from a New Zealand employer
  • You meet the minimum English language requirements

You’ll also have to score at least 180 points in your assessment to receive an Invitation to Apply from Immigration New Zealand. This invitation is your chance to make a formal skilled migrant application.

It’s important to note that getting an Invitation to Apply does not automatically mean that your application for a Skilled Migrant will be successful. Immigration New Zealand could still turn down your visa application.

Learn more about the Skilled Migrant visa.

2. Partner visa

The Partner visa is not a work visa, but it extends many rights to visa holders, and the ability to work in New Zealand is one of those rights.

To apply for a Partner visa, you must have a New Zealand partner with whom you’re in a civil union or de facto relationship.

Your partner must be a citizen or permanent resident, and you must prove that your relationship is stable and committed.

If Immigration New Zealand finds that your relationship is genuine and that you meet all the other requirements, you’ll be eligible for a partner visa.

You’ll also be able to include dependent children up to the age of 24 in your application.

Learn more about the Partner visa.

Pathway to residency

As the title suggests, the visas that fall under this category serve as a pathway to residency.

In other words, you’re recognised as a temporary resident when you hold any of these visas. However, you could be able to apply for permanent residency later on if you meet the requirements.

3. Accredited Employer Work Visa

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is for overseas workers with a full-time job offer from an accredited New Zealand employer.

Your salary must be at least the New Zealand median wage unless your occupation is exempt, and you must have the necessary skills and qualifications for the job you’ve been offered.

Furthermore, there mustn’t be suitable New Zealanders available to do the job unless a waiver applies.

When your occupation is on the Green List, you could fast-track your residence or have a work-t0-residence pathway. Visa applicants who qualify for work-to-residence cannot apply for residency immediately but can do so after two years of working in New Zealand.

Learn more about the Accredited Employer Work Visa.

4. Partner of a New Zealand Work Visa Holder

It’s safe to assume you’d want to go with your partner to New Zealand if they decide to immigrate.

You can do this by applying for the partner visa that’s specifically for partners of work visa holders. This visa allows you to join your partner in New Zealand and enables you to work while you live in the country.

Your partnership must be a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship, and you must prove to Immigration New Zealand that your partnership is genuine. Immigration New Zealand will consider the following when evaluating your relationship:

  • How long you’ve been together, and how long you’ve been living together as a couple
  • Whether you support each other financially and how you share financial responsibilities
  • Property that you may own or share
  • If you have any children together
  • Whether other people recognise your relationship or not

Learn more about the Partner of a New Zealand Work Visa Holder Visa.

Permission to work in New Zealand for short-term assignments

Sometimes your visa need is not for immigration but for a short work or business trip instead. In this case, you’d have to apply for a visa to visit New Zealand.

5. Specific Purpose Work visa

You’ll apply for a Specific Purpose Work visa when you need to go to New Zealand for a specific purpose or event.

Such purposes or events could be, for example, a short-term assignment for your company, working on a film set, installing or servicing specialised equipment, judging a show or exhibition or going to New Zealand to referee sports matches.

In short, any work that would attract any benefit – a salary, housing, food or any other form of benefit or remuneration.

When submitting your visa application, you must prove that you:

  • Genuinely need the work visa for the time period requested
  • Have enough funds to support yourself for the period of the work visa
  • Intend to leave New Zealand at the end of the work visa’s validity

Learn more about the Specific Purpose Work visa.

Now let’s chat about assessments

As we said right at the start, you can discover your best work visa option for New Zealand with an immigration assessment.

Such an assessment will consider all the necessary information about your profile to determine which New Zealand work visa you can apply for.

Online assessments are available, but it is best to get a licensed immigration advisor to do this with you.
Online assessments often don’t ask the probing questions necessary to determine your eligibility for any New Zealand work visa.

So, where do you find licensed advisors? On the website of the New Zealand Immigration Adviser Authority (IAA).

You can rest assured that advisors who appear here are licensed and held accountable for the advice dispensed.

Intergate’s licensed advisors

Intergate has two licensed advisers – Katrin Maja O’Flynn and Maike Versfeld. You can find them on the IAA website.

You can book a consultation call with our advisors on our website.

Let’s recap…

New Zealand offers five work visas that grant immediate residency, a pathway to residency or permission to work in New Zealand for short-term assignments, depending on the visa you qualify for.

Each New Zealand work visa has its requirements, and you’ll only know if you qualify for a visa and which one you qualify for once you’ve done an immigration assessment.

To ensure you get the correct advice, only deal with licensed advisers. It could mean the difference between getting to work in New Zealand and spending money on a dream that’s impossible.

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