Before you start your NZ visa application for 2023:
- Determine where to locate yourself, based on your employment or study options.
- Figure out how you'll support yourself in NZ.
- Check what documentation you need to apply for your preferred visa.
Here we take you through some of the basics of preparing for your new NZ visa application for 2023 and some expected changes to come throughout the year.
Planning Your NZ Visa Application
INZ will ask you for a lot of supporting information when you start the visa application process. So stay ahead of the game by learning what you need to gather and then prepare it all in advance.
If you have any doubts about the preparation or actual application process, don't hesitate to contact NZ licensed advisers for expert immigration advice.
Choose Where to Live
Applications can be based on regional jobs. Choose the best place for you and what suits your intention for coming to NZ. The weather can vary dramatically depending on where you choose, so ensure you study up on where job opportunities are as well as the regions before applying for roles.
Top NZ Cities
The biggest city in New Zealand is Auckland, with 1.5 million people. Auckland has a high cost of living. However, migrants often find this balance by finding NZ jobs that pay well and quickly.
Wellington is not the largest metropolitan area. However, nearly 20% of Wellington's jobs are within government branches and agencies, with many accepting job applications from qualified migrants.
Christchurch is the largest city in NZ's South Island. Despite the unfortunate event of an earthquake in 2011, the city has rebuilt itself and is more robust than ever, with a focus on innovation, offering outstanding employment opportunities.
Hamilton continues to grow in all areas, with new opportunities everywhere. Many Auckland companies have relocated to Hamilton to lower their overheads, increasing chances for migrants to find work.
Dunedin is situated south of the South Island. While it may not offer as many growth opportunities as Auckland, it is well-loved and admired for its lifestyle.
Finding accommodation in New Zealand doesn't have to be stressful. Reach out to our experienced immigration advisers for advice and resources.
Read our recent post for tips on finding somewhere to live in NZ, which includes good places to look for accommodation online.
Understand the Cost of Living & Wages
Like anywhere in the world, the cost of living in New Zealand comes with additional expenses on top of your rent.
Cost of Living in New Zealand
The cost of living in New Zealand can depend on your salary and where you decide to live. New Zealand's living costs vary significantly between regions. The most common things included in everyday living expenses, excluding rent, are discussed below.
- Utility bills are an average of NZ$135 for a single person per month. This includes things like electricity, gas, water, and heating.
- Transport costs can add up. A licensing (registration) fee for one year costs about NZ$110. A Warrant of Fitness (WoF) can vary in cost but is typically around NZ$50-60. The cost of your own car is also essential to keep in mind.
- Food and groceries can be expensive in New Zealand. Eating out in cities like Auckland can cost NZ$110-130 for two people at a mid-class restaurant. Fast-food chains are typically NZ$10-14 per meal. Buying groceries from supermarkets like Pak'nSave and cooking at home is always cheaper.
On average, Auckland's living expenses can cost a single person NZ$1,527 per month, excluding rent. The average cost of rent for a two-bedroom apartment is about NZ$560 per week in a reasonably central suburb like Avondale.
The cost of living in Wellington is slightly lower than in Auckland. A single person can pay about NZ$1,384 per month on general living expenses, excluding rent. Median rent costs are about NZ$490 per week for a two-bedroom apartment outside central Wellington.
Christchurch is often cheaper than other cities. Average living costs, excluding rent, are NZ$1344. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in central Christchurch is about NZ$450 per week.
NZ Net Salary
Migrants looking to move to NZ for work or permanently should understand the basis of New Zealand's salaries. Wages vary by industry and job type, with the median income just under NZ$27 per hour in mid-2021, equivalent to NZ$56,160 per year for a 40-year work week.
For work visa holders, median wage conditions apply, with the median wage increasing to NZ$29.66 on 27 February 2023.
Select Your Visa
No matter what you're looking for, always take advice! Contact the team at Malcolm Pacific Immigration for a free consultation to discuss your needs and explore which visa is best for you.
Work Visas often have strict conditions set out on the visa document itself. Usually, this includes a restriction to work in a particular occupation, for a specific employer and in a particular region of New Zealand. Find out about the different types of NZ Work Visas.
Study In New Zealand
Student Visas may have strict conditions that are set out on the visa document itself. Typically the conditions restrict the student to a particular course of study at an institution and can sometimes include work rights for part-time employment. Learn about the NZ Student Visa options.
Pathways to Residence NZ
Choosing the right visa from the outset if the intention is to move to New Zealand is critical to a smooth transition from Working Visa to a Residency Visa. Any initial mistake or incorrect choice from the beginning could hinder your chances of a successful application.
For more information and advice on your options and how to start your pathway to residency in NZ, talk to one of the best firms of immigration advisers, Malcolm Pacific Immigration.
Family & Partner Visas
If you choose to relocate your partner or entire family, ensure you have selected the appropriate visa to support your partner in employment.
Various partnership visas allow migrants to work in New Zealand if their partner has an NZ work visa. With some work visas, migrants can typically support the following visas for their partner and dependent children:
- An open work visa for your partner.
- A visitor visa for your partner or your children.
- A student visa for your children.
For more details about the application process, talk to a licensed immigration adviser and discuss your options.
Meet the Visa Requirements
In addition to the requirements outlined on your visa of choice, there are general requirements that are a rule of thumb.
During your application, you must show you are of good character and meet INZ's requirements.
You must inform INZ about any potential past criminal record or if you have ever provided them with false or misleading information previously. Depending on the issue, INZ offers some solutions to situations as long as you're open and honest with them upfront. For example, INZ can approve a character waiver if your issue is minor, which means INZ can still grant you a residence visa if your application meets all other requirements. This is where advice from an Immigration Adviser is essential.
INZ requires medical examinations to assess applicants' health and to ensure they meet the standards.
If you are applying for a visa, you may need a chest x-ray or medical examination to prove your good health. However, depending on your visa, the application will tell you what kind of medical examinations you need to provide.
You need to speak and understand English for some visas. You can take a test to show INZ that you can use and understand English. Contact licensed immigration advisers for help with finding out which tests we accept and the results you need for your preferred visa.
Get Your Documents Ready
Ensure you have all the documents you need to apply for your NZ visa in 2023.
Check your passport to ensure it is valid for travel to NZ in 2023 before you apply for your NZ visa. You must ensure that your passport does not expire:
- Three months after you plan to leave for New Zealand.
- One month after you plan to leave New Zealand, if a country issued your passport with an embassy or consulate in NZ that issues passports of that country.
- If you live in New Zealand permanently.
Ensure that your passport has not been damaged, reported as lost, stolen, or invalidated by the governing issuer.
Gather Your Forms
Your visa will outline what forms you need to gather, such as what you need to check off for your visa application. Remember that getting everything prepared ahead of time will save you unneeded stress. As a part of the application process, remember that once you’ve submitted, the control is in INZ’s hands. Here are the approximate application processing times for specific visas:
- Employer Accreditation - Straightforward applications aim to be processed in 10 weekdays, excluding public holidays. The average processing time is three weekdays. 90% of applications are processed within 16 weekdays.
- Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWV) - Straightforward AEWV applications aim to be processed in 20 weekdays, excluding public holidays. The average processing time is 12 weekdays. 90% of applications are processed within 25 weekdays.
- Visitor Visas - Applications aim to be processed within 20 weekdays, excluding public holidays. The average processing time is 15 weekdays. 90% of applications are processed within 35 weekdays.
- Student Visas - Applications are processed within 29 to 67 days. 90% of applications are processed within 67 days. 75% of applications are processed within 48 days. 50% of applications are processed within 29 days.
- Other Work Visas - Applications are processed within 19 to 32 days. 90% of applications are processed within 32 days. 75% of applications are processed within 25 days. 50% of applications are processed within 19 days.
- Family Temporary Visas - Applications are processed within 18 days to 12 months. 90% of applications are processed within 12 months. 75% of applications are processed within 61 days. 50% of applications are processed within 18 days.
- Working Holiday Visas - Applications are processed within 16 to 52 days. 90% of applications are processed within 52 days. 75% of applications are processed within 25 days. 50% of applications are processed within 16 days.
The processing time for other visa applications varies significantly.
INZ advises travellers not to book travel until their visas are processed and approved. Entering New Zealand without a visa (as visa waiver visitors) requires you to have valid onward travel arrangements. So, for example, when entering New Zealand, you must have a return ticket or proof that a ticket is booked and paid for. The return ticket must be from New Zealand to a country you can enter.
Keeping Up-To-Date With NZ Visa Changes
This has been a challenging year on multiple fronts as Covid continues to cause disruptions. In addition, there have been many immigration policy changes this year to streamline the previous regime, and we predict more to come in 2023.
INZ regularly releases updates about New Zealand visa applications and changes to the immigration system. You can also keep yourself informed about work visas, employer accreditation and Immigration NZ news by subscribing to our newsletter or contacting our experienced immigration advisers.
The Immigration Rebalance
The Government is rebalancing New Zealand's immigration system by implementing a shift in the future migrant workforce to increase New Zealand's business productivity and rebalance the skills gap to support our economy's growth.
The rebalance is designed to make it easier to attract and employ skilled migrants. It also supports sectors in implementing sustainable employment processes. We have summarised key dates of policy decisions that roll out in 2023.
LIST DATES HERE AS THEY ARE ANNOUNCED BY INZ.
- 18 January 2023. EOIs for the Skilled Migrant Category will be selected again.
- 31 January 2023. People who hold a Working Holiday visa but didn't travel due to Covid-19 can get a new visa and are allowed to enter the country.
- 27 February 2023. The new median wage of NZ$29.66 an hour will be adopted into the immigration system.
- May 2023. EOIs for Parent Resident visas can be submitted online on the Immigration New Zealand website.
- August 2023. The first selection of the new EOIs for Parent Resident visas starts and is repeated every three months.
Skilled Migrant Category
EOI selection for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa resumed on 9 November 2022, and INZ selected all EOIs with at least 160 points. However, after 9 November, the points threshold for selection increased to 180 points, which is in place from 18 January 2023, when EOIs are selected again.
Median Wage Increase
INZ announced that the new median wage of NZ$29.66 an hour will be adopted into the immigration system on 27 February 2023.
The NZ Government has made an exception for some sectors. For example, tourism and hospitality have a median wage threshold exemption of NZ$25 per hour until April 2023, with the median wage exception increasing to NZ$28.18 in April 2023.
Working Holiday Visa NZ
The Government announced changes to increase access to working holidaymakers already in New Zealand and those looking to travel to NZ. From 31 January 2023, people who held a working holiday visa but didn't travel due to Covid-19 can enter the country again, as they would have received an email notification from INZ from October 2022 onwards about their eligibility and ability to get a new visa.
Parent Resident Visa NZ
The Parent Resident Visa restarted on 12 October 2022 and resumed selecting existing expressions of interest (EOIs) on 14 November 2022.
From May 2023, EOIs can be submitted online on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Any EOIs INZ received from 12 October 2022 went into a ballot, with the first random selection from the ballot in August 2023, then every three months after that.
Get Started On Your NZ Visa Application 2023
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.