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Is It Difficult to Get a Job as a Migrant Worker in NZ?

New Zealand offers work and residence visas for migrant workers. Improve your chances of getting a job in NZ with the help of a licensed immigration adviser.
December 13, 2022
|
5
 min read

If you're a migrant wanting to work and live in New Zealand, you can find jobs through online job websites and recruitment companies. As a migrant, you usually need a job offer before applying for a working visa unless you are planning to arrive on a working holiday visa. 

All Work Visas have strict conditions, as specified on the documentation provided by INZ. This often includes restrictions to work in a specific occupation, for a certain employer and in a particular region of New Zealand. 

However before you make any decisions it is important to talk to a NZ licensed immigration advisers. The decisions you make now may impact any residency applications you may make in the future. But don't let the process overwhelm you, talk to Malcolm Pacific Immigration. 

What Are the Benefits of Working in New Zealand?

There are many positives to living and working in New Zealand, and here are just a few things that will convince you to make the move.

Work-Life Balance

New Zealanders believe life is for living, which is evident in the job balance. Much time is spent with family and friends, which is something you can experience for yourself when you gain a work visa in NZ. New Zealanders value harmony between working and enjoying New Zealand's many leisure opportunities.

Migrant Support

New Zealand employers support migrants settling into a new country and a new job. While it has been common for most employers to assist their migrant employees with the transition, INZ has made it a core part of the new NZ work visa regulations. As part of this support, your new employers will provide you with resources and training on adapting to life in NZ. 

Professional Development

New Zealand's population is small, but professional growth isn't limited. Migrants often encounter companies and teams smaller than they're used to, allowing them the opportunity to progress in their careers. Overseas skills and experience are welcomed, new ideas and better ways of working are often championed. 

 

More Opportunities

A small team increases the likelihood of being more involved in the business and presents more opportunities for migrants in the workplace to upskill and be promoted. Migrant workers considering NZ as their new place of work and life should remember that they have more chances of getting noticed in their profession than in many other places around the world.

What Are the NZ Work Visa Options for Migrant Workers?

INZ has a range of visas that allow you to work in New Zealand.

Work Visas

Foreigner workers must hold a valid visa to work in New Zealand. The work visa options are listed below.

Find out more about other available working pathways not listed below on our NZ work visa page here.

Skilled Migrant Resident Visa

The skilled migrant visa is a residency pathway for individuals with an occupation that is in demand in New Zealand. Migrants with high skills and the expertise to qualify for skilled migrant visas aren't limited to working but can apply for residence from the get-go.

Applicants must send INZ an expression of interest (EOI) that details their work experience and qualifications before applying. Selections of EOIs resume on 9 November 2022.

Accredited Employer Work Visa

The accredited employer work visa is for migrants who have been offered a job by an accredited New Zealand employer. The migrant is required to have the skills and qualifications for the job. 

AEWV holders on Immigration’s green list can potentially apply for the Straight to Residence Visa or residency after two years depending on what role they have filled, these are called the Work to Residence or Highly Paid Residence Visa.

Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa

This talent visa is for migrants with exceptional talent in art, sport or culture. Migrants will also need a sponsor and the support of an NZ organisation recognised for its excellence in their field. 

Talent Work Visa holders can start their pathway to residence in New Zealand by actively engaging in their field of talent within NZ for up to 30 months.

Partner of a Worker Work Visa

When one partner moves to New Zealand on a work visa, the other can apply for a visa to join their partner and work in New Zealand.

Read more about the new Partner of a Worker Work visa here.

For more details about work to residency visas and other pathways to NZ residence, read more on our Work-to-Residence visa category page.

How Can Migrant Workers Increase Their Chances of Getting a Job In New Zealand?

New Zealand's labour shortage is not a new issue for the country, but it has worsened following the global pandemic. Worker shortages in NZ are impacting many sections, from healthcare to hospitality.

While NZ employers need overseas workers, they must first meet INZ rules and become accredited to promote job vacancies overseas and employ migrants. 

This is where migrant workers can increase their chances of employment in New Zealand.

INZ continues to implement changes that make working in New Zealand easier for people with suitable skills, qualifications, and expertise. If you tick all the boxes, you can easily find a job. However, still ensure your CV stands out and your interview skills are top-notch.

You will also have an easier time finding a job if your profession is categorised under a critical sector, like healthcare, where skilled workers are in high demand within the country. Still, don't take these factors as a guarantee that you'll get the first job you want. 

Get everything in place and start your search. For the best chances of finding the right employment in NZ, talk to a licensed adviser today for professional advice and help with your work visa application.

Work In an Occupation from the Green List

From September 2022, some occupations can fast-track application processing. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence, while others require two years or longer before applying.

The jobs in demand in New Zealand differ significantly, from engineers to doctors to teachers. These in-demand jobs are all captured in the Green List.

Apply for Jobs with Accredited Employers

Employer Accreditation is mandatory for every employer wanting to hire migrant workers, it is accompanied by the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). Employers that wish to employ a migrant worker must be accredited by INZ. 

Looking for a company with employer accreditation will help you streamline the application process and the likelihood of being granted a valid NZ work visa from INZ. It will increase your chances of getting hired by an NZ employer as they have already committed to actively seeking migrant workers. The new accreditation process introduces three checks before an employer can hire a migrant worker:

  • The employer check (applying for and becoming an accredited employer)
  • The job check
  • The migrant worker check (which is the Accredited Employer Work Visa application).

When you apply for a job with an accredited employer, you can feel secure knowing that you are entering into a role with a financially stable company that is committed to helping your transition. 

Even more so, an accredited employer would've passed the employer check and likely possess an approved job check.

Meet Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) Requirements

Even when applying for a job with an accredited employer, there are still requirements for migrant workers. To be eligible for a work visa under the accredited employer scheme, migrant workers must:

  • Have an offer of employment from an accredited employer
  • Meet the requirements for the role that they have been offered
  • Have a clean criminal history
  • Meet the health requirements
  • Have the required qualifications and experience

Earn Within the Pay Range

With a few industry sector exemptions Migrant workers must be paid at least the median wage of NZ$27.76 per hour or more to qualify for an NZ work visa.

If you need help, contact Malcolm Pacific Immigration and speak to a licensed immigration adviser who can help ensure you're searching for a job that aligns with the median wage requirements.

Our Immigration Advisers Help Secure Your NZ Work Visa

Applying for a New Zealand visa doesn't have to be overwhelming. Reach out to our experienced immigration advisers for advice and guidance on the process to decrease stress and increase your chances!

Get started with a FREE consultation today

Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.

Get started with a FREE consultation today

Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.

Latest Updates

Our team keep ahead of all the latest immigration developments and post updates regularly. Stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter and get these updates directly to your inbox.

Our team keep ahead of all the latest employment and immigration law developments and post updates regularly. Stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter and get these updates directly to your inbox.

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Update

Migrant Worker Residence

Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrants Opportunity

Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.

January 9, 2023
Update

New Employer Accreditation Process

The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 19 July 2021

  • The median wage used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications increases from $25.50 per hour to $27 per hour.
  • Applicants paid below the median wage may be granted a work visa for up to 24 months. The usual 6-month visa validity restriction is suspended until mid-2022.
  • In certain cases, the labour market test is waived and in some cases, it will still apply.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 30 June 2021

  • Employer Accreditation and Approval in Principle applications are now closed.
  • No new Employer Accreditation applications (including renewals) will be accepted until the new process goes live in mid-2022.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Employer Accreditation Becomes Mandatory

Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From mid-2020 (delayed)

  • Government to negotiate and introduce Industry Sector agreements setting minimum conditions for industries that heavily rely on overseas workers. Sectors include; residential care, meat processing, dairy, forestry, road freight transport, tourism, and hospitality. Construction, horticulture, and viticulture may also be included.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 15 February 2021

  • Dairy Cattle Farmer job offers are now assessed by three new occupation descriptions: Dairy Farm Manager, Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager. Pay rates and job tasks will determine how long a work visa is valid. Take advice.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 7 October 2020

  • Introduction of "Oversupply" and "Undersupply" occupation lists used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications when a job offer pays less than the median wage.
  • Employers offering jobs to migrant workers where an occupation is on the "Oversupply" list will not get Skill Match reports issued by Work & Income. Solid evidence of genuine attempts to find a local to fill the job will be critical for approval.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government added four new occupations that are now regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. These are:

Aged or disabled carer, Bicycle mechanic, Driller and Nursing Support worker.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 27 July 2020

  • Essential Skills work visa applications are now assessed based on the current median wage (NZD $25.50 or more per hour.).
  • Job offers paying below the median wage require employers to pass the labour market test* and secure a Skills Match Reports from WINZ (work visas granted for a maximum of 6 months).

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 27 May 2020​

  • Regional Skill Shortage List goes live. 15 regions around New Zealand list occupations reflecting local skill shortages in each region. The labour market test is not mandatory provided the job offer matches the occupation and region plus the visa applicant has qualifications and/or work experience set out on the list.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:

  • Has employment paying double the median wage which is currently NZD $51 per hour OR NZD $106,800 per annum; OR Has New Zealand occupational registration and is required to hold valid registration to lawfully carry out their job.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 24 February 2020

  • Wage or salary thresholds increase for Essential Skills Work Visas applications lodged on or after 24/02/2020 (labour market tested; read more here).
  • Higher Skilled employment increases to $38.25 or more per hour ($79,560 per annum*)
  • Mid Skilled Employment increases to $21.68 or more per hour ($45,094 per annum*)

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 7 October 2019

  • Base salary to qualify for a Work to Residence Visa (WTR) supported by an accredited employer increases from $55,000 per annum to $79,560 per annum (or $38.25 per hour).
  • Pay rates for WTR visas are now reviewed annually.
  • Work visa applicants paid less than $79,560 per annum by accredited employers need to apply under other work visa categories.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Skilled Migrant Changes

The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Rules

From 1 November 2021

  • Work to Residence Visa (Accredited Employer and Long Term Skill Shortage) applications close.
  • Applications lodged on or before 31 October 2021 will be processed under current visa settings.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Mandatory Vaccination Required for Travel

From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.

January 9, 2023
Update

Employer Accreditation

Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:

  • Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

Is this the only requirement to qualify for residence? No. In addition to the eligible work visa criteria workers also need to be regarded as one of the following:

  1. Settled.
  2. Skilled.
  3. Scarce.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet the visa eligibility criteria:

  • Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

2021 Resident Visa

The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Critical Purpose Visitor Visas

A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
Update

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • July 4. Applications open for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.
  • July 31. Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa close.
  • August. Skilled Migrant Residence category scheduled to reopen.
  • August. A new pathway to residence for people earning 200% or more of the median wage.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

January 9, 2023
Update

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
  • April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
  • April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
  • May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

January 9, 2023
Update

Work Visa Categories Closing

The work visa categories set to close are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
January 9, 2023
Update

The Green List

From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.

There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.

Read more here.

January 9, 2023
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