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How Easy is it to Get a Work Visa in Nz

If you are wondering how easy it is to get a New Zealand work visa, this is a guide on how to make your application as simple as possible.
March 1, 2023
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5
 min read

If you are considering starting a new life in New Zealand and are wondering how easy it is to get a New Zealand work visa, this article is for you. As a foreign worker, you need a valid visa to work in New Zealand and making the right choice at the beginning is key to your success further down the road. 

As licensed Immigration advisers, we understand working out which visa to apply for can seem confusing however we are there to help support your application and make it as simple as possible. Here is our guide on how to make it easier. 

Where to Begin: Understanding Which Work Visa is Right for You. 

New Zealand’s visas have gone through an overhaul of its visas over the past year and continue to be amended this year. With the changes, migrants can now expect greater transparency on who New Zealand is prioritizing. Some applicants are already experiencing faster work visa processing times due to reduced queue volumes.

By having a clear understanding of which visas apply to you and whether it can lead to residency should help you decide which pathway to take. 

Firstly, Consider Your Employment Options

If you're a migrant worker looking for employment in New Zealand, there are ways to help increase your chances of gaining a work visa when you have the skills NZ employers are looking for. By understanding how your skill set fits into New Zealand’s work visa landscape you can determine which work visa is most applicable. INZ has introduced specific visas to make it easier for skilled and qualified individuals to work in the country. 

Fast Track Work Visas - Green List Occupations

Before going any further, determine if you have an occupation which New Zealand Immigration deems critical this will be found on the Green List. The Green List was introduced to prioritise key roles necessary to keep the country running smoothly.

Certain occupations on the Green List can expedite the visa application process. These in-demand jobs range from engineers and doctors to teachers, among others. Some provide a direct pathway to residence, while others require two years or more of work experience before applying. 

These roles can help you to fast track your visa application. After securing a job offer you may find yourself with the green light to move to NZ within weeks. 

Read this article on how to apply for New Zealand green list roles, otherwise keep up to date with changes to this list by subscribing to our Immigration NZ News newsletter here 

What are the Other Available Work Visa Options for Migrants in New Zealand?

While the Green List has made it easier to fast track in-demand workers to New Zealand, it is not the only choice for individuals looking to move to New Zealand for work. 

Depending on your circumstances there are several different visa options available. Entering the country based on your skill levels gives you the most choice however you may find your country of origin or family situation means you can also apply for a work visa.

The following New Zealand work visa options are also available:

For Skilled Migrants

  • Accredited Employer Work Visa: This New Zealand work visa is the most popular for migrant workers. To gain this work visa the applicant must have a job offer from an accredited New Zealand employer. Employers are required to meet specific criteria to be accredited before hiring migrants. If an employer is still waiting for accreditation, this can prolong the period it takes to gain employment. Holders of AEWV NZ can potentially apply for a Work to Residence or Highly Paid Residence Visa after two years, depending on their role.

  • Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa: This visa is for migrants with exceptional talent in the arts, sports, or culture who have a sponsor and the support of a recognized NZ organization in their field. Talent Work Visa holders can start their pathway to residence in NZ by actively engaging in their field for up to 30 months.

For Family of Citizens, Residents or Work Visa holders

  • Partner of a Worker Work Visa: If your partner has a New Zealand work visa such as an AEWV and you want to join them and work in NZ, you can apply for this visa. Your visa will be issued for the same length of time as the main work visa holder. 
  • Partner of New Zealand citizen/ resident visa. In order to qualify for residence you must provide evidence that you have been in a stable relationship for at least 12 months before lodging a residence application.

For International or Humanitarian Obligations

There are several options based on your country of residence. These can have short deadlines or small quotas. 

  • Working Holiday Visa: this scheme to allow a number of people from specific countries to be granted permission to usually work for 12 months. 
  • Immigration provisions to enable New Zealand to meet its humanitarian and international obligations.

Special Work Visa

This type of visa is issued to support specific industries and communities. 

  • horticulture and viticulture seasonal work visas
  • foreign crew of fishing vessels visas
  • religious worker visas

If you're considering applying for a New Zealand visa, don't be overwhelmed. Reach out to our Malcolm Pacific Immigration advisers for advice and guidance on the process.

For more information on available work pathways and work to residency visas, please visit our new zealand work visa 2023 page and Work-to-Residence visa category

Secondly, Ensure your Job Application Stands Out. 

On the whole, New Zealand work visa applicants will need to gain employment before their visa application is accepted. New Zealand like many other countries has labour shortages therefore there are many positions available. 

Having skills in various critical sectors like healthcare can also increase your chances, but it doesn't guarantee immediate job offers. Therefore, you should prepare yourself thoroughly and start your job search as early as possible. New Zealand employers do value overseas experience but you still need to stand out with a well-crafted CV and excellent interview skills.

Thirdly, Make Your Application Process Easy by Consulting with a Immigration Adviser. 

There are several reasons why you might want to consider hiring a licensed immigration adviser when applying for a visa in New Zealand. Some common reasons include:

Obtaining a visa quickly: An immigration adviser can help you navigate the application process and ensure that you have all the necessary documentation to apply for a visa. This can help you expedite the process and obtain a visa more quickly.

Receiving professional support: An immigration adviser can provide you with professional support to make the immigration process smoother. They can help you understand the requirements for your visa application, provide guidance on the documentation required, and advise you on how to present your case to immigration officials.

Accessing advice from experienced professionals: If you have a unique or complex immigration situation, it may be beneficial to seek advice from experienced professionals who have dealt with similar cases. This can help ensure that your application is handled properly and increases your chances of success.

It's important to note that immigration laws in New Zealand change regularly. Seeking advice from friends or family who have gone through the process in the past may not provide you with accurate information. Professional advisers are up to date on the latest changes to immigration laws and can provide you with the most current and accurate information.

If you're considering hiring a licensed immigration adviser, consider contacting Malcolm Pacific Immigration for a free consultation. Their team of skilled and experienced advisers can assist you with your New Zealand visa application every step of the way.

Benefits of Working With an Immigration Adviser

Navigating New Zealand's Immigration policy can be a challenging task, particularly if it's your first time applying for a visa. Understanding the intricacies of the application process can be time-consuming and stressful. 

We help you ensure your application is prepared accurately, help streamline your application and avoid unsuccessful applications due to mistakes such as incomplete documentation or other errors. 

Contact Malcolm Pacific Immigration For a Free Consultation.

Our expert advisors will provide you with the support you need to save time, reduce stress, and save money.

Contact us today for a free consultation and get personalised advice from a licensed immigration professional.

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

In order to address labour shortages in New Zealand's crucial industries the NZ government has implemented a "Green List" of sought-after high-skill occupations. This list offers a prioritised pathway to residency.

There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Occupations are broken down into two tiers: 

  • Tier 1 - direct pathway to residence
  • Tier 2 - requires a period of two years or longer before applying

The recent additions in May 2023 across many sectors can be found here

June 16, 2023