New Zealand offers a variety of work visas. All are temporary, although some may open a path to residency. One such option is the Work to Residence Visa.
A Work to Residence Visa could be just what you need if you want to stay in New Zealand long-term. It allows you to build up two full years of work experience while you experience what life in New Zealand is like before applying for residency. It is also ideal for people who do not qualify to apply via the skilled migrant class. Applicants will have to meet all visa requirements including working the full term (2yrs) in New Zealand, and fulfilling any health, character and English language requirements.
In most cases, your eligibility for a Work to Residence Visa will depend on your skill set. Whether or not your employer in New Zealand is accredited and whether you meet the key experience and qualifications requirements will determine this.
This guide will cover the key details you need to know about New Zealand’s Work to Residence Visa.
There are three options when it comes to applying for residency using the Work to Residence Visa.
The first is to be employed with an Accredited Employer, also known as the Talent Visa category. This is not to be confused with the Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) Visa discussed below, you can then apply at the end of the required time period. This is for jobs where an employer can prove they need your skillset for that specific job, and cannot employ a New Zealand resident easily for the same position.
You can also qualify by finding work in one of the fields on the Long Term Skills Shortage List. Once you have worked in a job from that list for the required period you can apply for a Work to Residence Visa.
Before you start your application, consider whether using an immigration adviser could help. It is best to gain the services of an immigration adviser before you start, to ensure you don’t waste time and money on the wrong visa type or gathering evidence that will not be accepted by Immigration New Zealand. We can help you right from the start and take the stress and uncertainty out of applying.
Have a look on our site at how we can help you with Work to Residence Visas. Or give us a call on 0800 800 612 for more information on your visa type and to see what we can do for you.
If your skills and talents are in demand by any of the over 1,000 accredited employers in New Zealand, you may be able to get a 30-month Work Visa that leads to gaining residency.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) maintains a registry of Accredited Employers that have fulfilled certain criteria and may hire migrant employees without vacancy advertisements. However, if you have a partner and children they will have to apply for a different type of visa.
This visa type is typically handled more quickly than other work visas because the company has already passed many INZ accreditation criteria.
It is important to check that you meet all of the minimum requirements before applying for a work to residence visa to avoid disappointment or delay. We can help you with this.
This work visa category is for people who have been offered jobs on the Long-Term Skills Shortage List. This list is updated periodically to reflect labour market requirements. Please ensure that you check the latest list for your career type. We ensure that we hold the most up to date list here at Malcolm Pacific Immigration.
This visa can be the first stage towards residence status in New Zealand. For this visa you must be in constant employment in a profession that appears on the list for a span of at least 30 months.
You will need to check that your qualifications meet New Zealand standards. If they do not, in some professions there is an option to serve a ‘registration’ period under some degree of supervision. However, you may find you need to sit extra university papers to be considered ‘qualified’ here.
Again, if you have a partner or dependent children they will have to apply for a different visa based on the relationship they have with you and what criteria apply to them in terms of other applicable visas.
If you find that you are unlikely to qualify for a work to residence visa you can start with temporary work visas. You can also read more about the essential skills work visa and the New Zealand Skilled Migrant Visa which are longer term.
Talent Visa (Arts, Culture and Sports)
If you perform well in a specific area of art, culture, or sport and are sponsored by a nationally recognised organisation in New Zealand you may be able to get a work visa under this category.
For this visa type there is no English language requirement to meet if you are the main applicant. However, your partner and any other dependents must demonstrate that they meet a minimum standard of English to ensure that they are able to settle in New Zealand successfully.
Key Requirements for a Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) Visa
If you are on a Religious Worker Visa in New Zealand, you can apply for residency if you meet the following conditions:
Please note: You can only apply for this visa type if you already hold a valid Religious Worker Visa of 3 years or longer. This is an extension of the religious worker visa, to enable you to reside here long term.
If you include your partner and children in your application for a visa, they will have to meet the same criteria for identification, health, character and English language standards that you do.
If you're an experienced entrepreneur interested in becoming self-employed in your own business, New Zealand’s Entrepreneur Work or Residency Visas would suit you.
Most people get started with the Entrepreneur Work Visa. This gives them the opportunity to move to New Zealand to purchase or set up a business. You can then apply for residency after either six months or two years, depending on the category to which you are applying.
An Entrepreneur Work Visa is for people who are willing to buy or start up a business in New Zealand.
This three-year work visa consists of two phases:
Requirements for Entrepreneur Work Visas
The Entrepreneur Residence category enables you to live permanently in New Zealand if you have developed a growing and creative business in New Zealand with export potential. This framework provides two avenues for applying for residence:
Both options obligate you to meet the standard requirements of health, character and English language proficiency.
Take advice. This visa has historically a very high decline rate (90% at one point). Take professional advice before considering applying under this category.
Business Investor Visas are for investors wanting to live (obtain residency) in New Zealand.
If you're looking to invest in New Zealand, the Business Investor Visas might be a great choice for you and your family. It has two categories:
If you are interested in applying under any of the above investor categories, you must meet the basic NZ requirements of an acceptable investment and prove lawfully earnings. In general, suitable investments can be as follows:
See more information on our website https://www.malcolmpacific.com/investor-visa-team
If a business that is based and operating overseas decides to relocate to New Zealand, as long as this move will benefit the New Zealand economy, employees of the company may be eligible for a Work to Residence visa.
For this category of Work to Residence visa, the following provisions must be met:
As you can see, there are many options when it comes to obtaining a New Zealand Work to Residence Visa. Your choice as to which you apply for will depend on where you fall into the different categories, and how you meet the requirements for each.
Using an immigration adviser will boost your chances of success. Read more on how to choose the best immigration adviser in Auckland or the best immigration adviser in Wellington.
Malcolm Pacific Immigration has over 35 years of experience in supporting migrants from around the world into New Zealand. If you're interested in travelling, working or living in New Zealand, our professional team of licensed immigration advisers can assist you with a one-on-one consultation, details and representation when applying for a visa or work permit.
Call 0800 800 612 to talk with one of our experts for more information and guidance on moving to New Zealand and to book a time to sit down and look through your options and application with us.
This visa is for individuals who are interested in living in New Zealand and who have a skill required by an accredited employer in New Zealand, or who’s investments or contributions will benefit the country.
If you have held a resident visa for 2 years or more and have lived 6 months or more for each year over those 2 years in New Zealand, you can apply for a permanent visa. If issued, you can permanently live and work in New Zealand, and come and go freely without travel restrictions from New Zealand.
If you have held a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa for at least 24 months, you can apply for a Resident Visa. You are also expected to be currently employed full-time by an accredited employer for that duration and have a basic salary of at least NZD 79,560 before tax per annum.
You can include close family members in your application.
The family can obtain work visas or student visas as suits their needs. All international students who wish to attend university are required to apply for a separate student visa and international student fess apply.
Family members can be listed on the application for residency but they may need to follow Immigration New Zealand requirements including a basic qualification for English language.
Workers can apply for residency in New Zealand once they've completed 24 months of work. This allows for another 6 months until the expiry of their 30-month work visa. Potential applicants can still extend their Work Visa without applying for residency.
It currently takes about 60 to 90 days for Immigration New Zealand to process a Work to Residence Visa but timeframes always change.
To establish your employment information you will need to submit documents and provide proof that you have not broken any of your visa conditions. Putting all the supporting documentation together may be a little daunting but it's worth the effort.
You will need to check the conditions of your visa, but generally if you are granted residency you will be able to apply for permanent residency after 2 years. Once you have permanent residency the next step is to apply for citizenship but you will need to check the citizenship requirements, which include a total amount of time residing in New Zealand, police check and character references among other things.
Both visas give you the same opportunity to live permanently in New Zealand but they give you different travel provisions.
Your Resident Visa will only allow you to travel to and from New Zealand for a specified period of time – usually 24 months. Once this period has ended you may apply for a Permanent Resident Visa. A Permanent Resident Visa imposes no restrictions on how you travel. Meaning you can travel to and from New Zealand at any time, as long as you have a Permanent Resident Visa in your valid passport.
The Long-term Skills Shortage List or LTSSL is a register of skilled jobs which we do not currently have enough workers for in New Zealand. Therefore needing to outsource from overseas. The list is typically reviewed every 6 months and jobs can be removed from or added to the list after each review.
No. INZ does not offer this kind of service. The department exists to enforce immigration law, take decisions on applications for residency and grant visas for residence. Despite the availability of basic information and application forms, INZ cannot offer independent advice and tailored guidance on your particular situation. A Licensed Immigration Adviser such as those at Malcolm Pacific Immigration can provide this service.
We understand it's a big undertaking to apply for a Work to Resident visa. Even if you meet all of the requirements, you will need to present a thorough and comprehensive case explaining your eligibility to Immigration New Zealand.
Our immigration advice team is here to assist you in getting the correct details and to ensure your application has the best chance. If you’d like help with your Work to Residence Visa application or have any other queries, you can contact us by phone (0800 800 612) or through our website.
With the New Zealand border almost fully closed at the moment, most visa applications have been put on hold. Work to Residence visas will be impacted by this. However, we expect that the government will announce plans for re-opening certain visa categories sometime in 2021.
There have been some exceptions made already for partners and critical workers coming into the country, and more exceptions are expected. We are in contact with Immigration New Zealand and have the latest information on the status of each visa type. You can check for updates on our news page.
Even with current restrictions in place we can still help you prepare to apply. Once borders re open there will be a rush to submit visa applications, we want you to be in the first group who does. If you have everything ready to submit then you can do so with confidence the very first day you are able to. This should cut down on the waiting time for a result. Some visas you may even be able to submit an application now and be in the line for review, please give us a call to check the status of your visa type.