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Work Visa Information.

Here we share some general information about Work Visa policy. This does not replace or constitute immigration advice from a licensed immigration adviser.
Work Visa Information when Working and Migrating to New Zealand

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Keep reading or explore other work visa categories

Work Visas.

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 (AEWV)

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is the most common work visa people apply for when entering NZ to work. 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 is lodged. The employer will apply for the job offer you receive to be cleared by Immigration NZ before you apply (known as the "job check"). This will include satisfying the government there are no suitable NZ citizens or residents available to fill the job. The main criteria are:

  • Hold a firm job offer precleared by Immigration NZ, including the pay rate.
  • Prove you are suitably qualified and experienced to undertake the job you have been offered.
  • Be of good health and character.
  • The visa will have an expiry date usually linked to the rate of pay.
  • In some cases the AWEV may lead onto 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.

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Employment in New Zealand

Skilled Migrant Residence

Residence from Work

Partnership


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, employer or area of New Zealand the partner can work. The government has signalled a change to this visa, and it may become more difficult to secure in the future.

  • 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.
  • 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.


Visa For Specific Purpose Or Event.

These are specialist work visas that cater to multiple situations usually where a person is still paid offshore. 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.

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:

  • Talent Visa (Arts, Culture and Sport).
  • Religious Worker Visa.
  • Accredited Employer Work Visa (only for certain occupations or rates of pay - take advice).

For holders of the above work visas, residence may be applied for immediately or after 2 or 3 years of employment, subject to good health and character, and meeting a number of other specific requirements. Refer to "Residence from Work" in the "Residence Visas" section of this website.

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 professional 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 New Zealand qualification completed will determine how long a work visa is valid.

  • After finishing study in certain approved courses, some applicants may be eligible for a work visa valid for between 12 to 36 months (depending on the type qualification completed), enabling work in any job.
  • Applicants must be of good character and be in good health.

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 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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Latest Immigration News

Our team stay 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.

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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.

May 16, 2022
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.
February 10, 2022
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.

December 16, 2021
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.

December 16, 2021
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.

December 1, 2021
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.

November 24, 2021
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.

November 24, 2021
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.

November 5, 2021
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.

November 4, 2021
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.

November 3, 2021
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.

November 2, 2021
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.

November 1, 2021
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.

October 28, 2021
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.

October 28, 2021
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.

October 1, 2021
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.

September 30, 2021
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.

September 30, 2021
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.

September 30, 2021
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.

July 22, 2021
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.

July 19, 2021
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.

July 1, 2021
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.

June 1, 2021
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.

May 17, 2021
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.

May 3, 2021
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.

February 15, 2021
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.

February 1, 2021
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.

October 19, 2020
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.

September 1, 2020
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.

July 27, 2020
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.

July 1, 2020
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.

May 18, 2020
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.

May 1, 2020
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.

March 31, 2020
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.

February 24, 2020
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.

February 3, 2020
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.

February 3, 2020

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