Work Visa Information

Here we share some general information about Work Visa policy. This material is for information only. Contact one of our Licensed Immigration Advisers for personal immigration advice.

Work Visa Information

Work Visas often have strict conditions set out on the visa document itself. Often this includes a restriction to work in a certain occupation, for a specific employer and in a particular region of New Zealand. These conditions must be complied with. If you want any changes, take advice.

Accredited Employer Work Visa

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is the most common work visa people apply for when wanting to work in New Zealand. To apply for an AEWV, an applicant must hold a job offer from a New Zealand employer who is accredited by the NZ government.

Employers apply separately to become accredited, and that application needs to be approved before a work visa application can be lodged. Accredited Employers also need to satisfy Immigration NZ that there are no New Zealanders available to fill the job before they will allow an AEWV application to be lodged. Employers do this by applying for a "job check". Provided the job check is approved then the AEWV application can be lodged. The process is complex and may involve two or three processes before a work visa is finally issued. Specialist advice and guidance is strongly recommended. Over 70% of AEWV applicants choose to use a Licensed Immigration Adviser to reduce the risk of failure.

Some of requirements include:

  • Hold a firm job offer precleared by Immigration NZ, including the pay rate.
  • In some cases proof of meeting an English standard is required.
  • Prove you are suitably qualified and experienced to undertake the job you have been offered. Minimum standards apply.
  • Be of good health and character.
  • The visa will have an expiry date. People can stay for a maximum of 3 or 5 years depending on the skill level of the job.
  • In some cases holding an AWEV may lead to residence.

Useful Information

The Malcolm Pacific Immigration team of advisers and experts take away the stress and worry of navigating the complex world of New Zealand work visas, policies, and immigration.

Helpful Links

Employment in New Zealand

Green List Visa

Residence from Work


Partnership Visa (NZ Partner)

In the real world, love has no barriers, but in the immigration world, there are borders to cross. This can be an emotionally charged process when a New Zealander has fallen in love with someone from overseas. There are no shortcuts, and taking advice right at the beginning will save a lot of heartache, time and money.

  • If an applicant has lived together with a New Zealand partner for less than 12 months, a 12-month work or visitor visa may be available.
  • If an applicant has lived together with a New Zealand partner for 12 months or longer, a 24-month work visa may be available.
  • In both cases, the applicant must satisfy Immigration New Zealand that they are in a “genuine and stable” relationship with a New Zealander and must demonstrate the duration of the relationship to the satisfaction of Immigration New Zealand and be of good health and character.

Note: These policies can be used to assist couples who do not immediately meet “duration” requirements or who are still collating evidence to support arguments of “genuineness or stability” in the context of a Residence application.

Partnership Visa (Non-NZ Partner)

Often, once a migrant worker secures a job in New Zealand, their partner is just as keen to start working. The benefit of a "Partnership Visa" is that there are no restrictions on what job, or area of New Zealand the partner can work. However, there may be conditions placed on the "Partnership Visa" restricting the partner to work for an accredited employer and at certain pay rates.

  • Partners of non-New Zealanders who hold a Work Visa may be eligible for a work visa for the same duration as their partner’s work visa but may have to meet certain pay conditions and work for an accredited employer.
  • The applicant must satisfy Immigration New Zealand they are in a “genuine and stable” relationship, to the satisfaction of Immigration New Zealand, and be of good health and character.
  • In some cases, income thresholds of the migrant worker are a requirement before a partnership visa is issued.

Talk to a Licensed Immigration Adviser to understand the options and obligations of this visa.

Specific Purpose Or Event Visa

These are specialist work visas that cater to multiple situations usually where a person is still paid offshore while working in New Zealand. From a concert player to installing a high tech printer or the new CEO of a multinational. The types of skills that may qualify for this visa include:

  • Executives and workers with specialist skills working for larger companies or on special projects.
  • Sports players, coaches, referees, show judges.
  • Persons installing specialist machinery.
  • Entertainers, performing artists, film crews.

Take professional advice to see if this is the right visa for you or your business.

Work to Residence Visa

Any person on a work visa may be eligible to apply for residence under normal residence policy. There is a special pathway to residence for the following work visas:

For holders of the above work visas, residence can be applied for immediately or after 2 or 3 years of employment.

Note 1. In all cases, applicants must be of good character and health. A medical or character waiver can be made in special cases.

Note 2. Because of the specialist nature of the activities involved, unique procedures need to be followed in some cases.

Applicants and employers should seek personal immigration advice because there are multiple complexities involved.

Talent Visas (Arts, Culture and Sport)

A pathway to residence for people who have an international reputation in the area of Arts, Sport or Culture. To apply for this visa, a person will need the support of a recognised New Zealand national body and a personal sponsor. The threshold for this visa is high, and applicants will need to document their track record of international success.

  • Applicants may be considered for a Work visa based on their talent in the fields of Arts, Culture or Sport if supported by a relevant organisation of “national repute.”
  • The Applicant must be of good character and health.

Post-Study Work Visa

After all the hard study is done and dusted, there is a limited opportunity to work to gain some local experience before heading home. The type of qualification completed and the length of time spent studying in New Zealand will determine the length of a work visa.

  • After finishing study in certain approved courses, some applicants may be eligible for a work visa valid for between 12 to 36 months allowing work in any job.
  • Applicants must be of good character and be in good health.
  • Evidence of funds is required.

Note: Eligibility can depend on how the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has assessed a particular course. Assessments can change, and some agents selling courses, or students giving advice to each other, can cause confusion, leading to big problems and disappointments for students. Take professional advice.

Working Holiday Visas

Designed to attract young people to New Zealand looking for an action-packed adventure with the opportunity to work simultaneously. A great way to explore the country, meet new people and earn money to support your travel.

  • There are more than 40 countries with which New Zealand now has reciprocal arrangements offering opportunities for young travellers.
  • There is normally an age limit of 18 – 30 (in some cases the age limit is 35).
  • In many cases, places are limited by quota - first come, first served.
  • Must not undertake permanent employment.
  • Applicants to be of good health and character.

Religious Worker

Allows the recruitment of experienced religious workers to support the efforts of community religious groups.

  • Under some circumstances, religious organisations can apply for Work Visas for religious workers.
  • Must be sponsored.
  • Applicants to be of good health and character.
  • Pathway to residence.

Student And Trainee Visa

An opportunity for overseas students to complete course-related practical training or work experience in the New Zealand environment. A great way to get some overseas experience.

  • Work visas can be issued to support students for whom work training is an integral part of their qualification. Examples include Medical and Dental trainees and Jockeys.

Specialist Work Visa Categories

These visas support local primary industries and, in some limited cases, hospitality. Quotas may apply along with qualification and/or experience requirements.

  • Other specialist visas include Horticultural and Viticulture Seasonal Workers and Foreign Crews of Fishing Vessels.
  • Accommodation and repatriation obligations on employers may apply.

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