Work to residence in New Zealand

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work to residence new zealandDid you know it’s possible to work to residence in New Zealand? This means it’s not necessarily the end of the road if you didn’t qualify for permanent residence straight away!

Today we’ll introduce you to all the visa options for work to residence. If you want to find out if you’re eligible for any, we suggest booking your free initial assessment immediately.

How does ‘work to residence’ work?

There are four temporary work visa options under the work to residence programme. When granted one of these visas you’ll be able to apply for permanent residence after you’ve held the temporary visa for two years (or three years for religious workers).

Four work to residence visas for New Zealand

You have four work to residence visas to explore. This is provided you meet the basic qualifying criteria which is that you must:

  • Be 55 or younger; and
  • Meet New Zealand’s health and character requirements.

The visas are:

  1. Work to Residence: Long Term Skills Shortage
  2. Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Visa
  3. Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa
  4. Religious Worker Work Visa

1. Work to Residence: Long Term Skills Shortage

If you are qualified and skilled in an occupation for which New Zealand has a sustained and ongoing skills shortage, you may be eligible for a work visa under the Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Category.

These are the requirements you’ll have to meet:

  • Your skills and experience appear on the Long Term Skill Shortage List.
  • You’ve received a full-time job offer that:
    • Uses your skills and experience; and
    • Pays more than NZ$45,000 a year.

While visas are usually issued for up to 30 months, you’ll be allowed to apply for residence after two years (24 months) provided:

  • Your job was on the Long Term Skill Shortage List when you applied for your visa; or
  • Your job is on the Long Term Skill Shortage List when you apply for residence.
  • You worked in that skill shortage occupation for the duration of your contract.

2. Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Visa

An accredited employer is an employer that has been pre-approved by Immigration New Zealand to employ skilled or talented foreign nationals. This makes the process simpler and smoother for both the employer and the visa applicant.

To apply for temporary residence under the Accredit Employer category, you’ll have to meet the following criteria:

  • You have a full-time job offer for at least 2 years from an accredited employer.
  • You must work in the specific job, for the specific accredited employers, and in the specific location detailed in the job offer that was the basis of your visa application. This applies to the duration of your visa.
  • You’ll earn at least NZ$55,000 a year.

As with the Short Term Skill Shortage category you’ll get a visa valid for up to 30 months. You’ll be allowed to apply for permanent residence after two years of employment.

3. Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa

You’ll be eligible for this talent visa if you have an exceptional talent in a field of art, sport or culture. In order to be eligible for an application, you must:

  • Have the support of a New Zealand organisation of national repute in your field of talent. Such an organization is one that is nationally recognized for its excellence in either:
    • A field of art, culture or sport.
    • Fostering exceptional talent in a field of art, culture or sport.
  • Be able to demonstrate that your ability will result in positive contribution to the development of your specific field in New Zealand.

Your Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa will be valid for up to 30 months. After two years you’ll be able to apply for permanent residence provided that you:

  • Were actively engaged in your field in New Zealand for two years.
  • Did not apply for or were granted any social welfare benefits in New Zealand.

4. Religious Worker Work Visa

The Religious Worker Work Visa is a pathway to residence for people who are experience or trained in religious work. To be granted a temporary work visa:

  • You must have an offer for religious work from an acceptable religious organisation. An acceptable organization is one that is:
    • Registered as a charity; and
    • Whose main purpose it is to advance religion.
  • The religious organization must act as your sponsor.

The Religious Worker Work Visa is valid for up to two years. If the organisation’s work and sponsorship continues, you can apply for a second work visa. You’ll then be able to apply for permanent residence in New Zealand after three years.

To apply for permanent residence, you must:

  • Have at least 5 years of religious training and/or experience.
  • Continue to work for a religious organization that’s agreed to sponsor you.
  • Have English language ability of at least IELTS Level 5.
  • Not have applied for or been granted any social welfare benefits in New Zealand.

Family joining you?

New Zealand does not allow you to include your family in your Work to Residence application for New Zealand. However, your spouse and any dependents may apply separately based on their relationship with you. Once you apply for permanent residence, you can include these family members in your application.

Contact us if you have questions

Read something you need clarification on? Want to discuss the requirements in more detail? Then feel free to contact us via either phone +27 (0) 21 424 2460 / +27 (0) 11 234 4275 or email. If you choose to email us, an advisor will endeavor to contact you within 24 hours to address your questions.

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