Work Visas.

Work Visa information.

This article is about Immigration Policy but is not a description of policy.

Work Visas often have strict conditions that are set out on the visa document itself. These conditions must be complied with.

Changes to Work Visa policy roll out from 2019 through to 2021. Check if you are affected here 



Essential Skills.


  • Applicant must hold a firm offer of employment.

  • The job offered must pass a “Labour Market Check” to ensure no New Zealander is available to fill the position UNLESS the applicant’s qualifications and the offer of employment are an exact match to one of the lists of skill shortages published from time to time by Immigration New Zealand. 

  • The Applicant must demonstrate both qualifications and skills required for the job, and be of good character and health.

  • Minimum income thresholds apply to job offers and these determine whether family members can join the applicant or not.

  • There are restrictions on how long these visas are valid for.



Talent Visas. (Arts, Culture and Sport).


  • Applicants may be considered for a Work visa on the basis of their talent in the fields of Arts, Culture or Sport if supported by a relevant organization of “national repute.” High thresholds of talent or excellence are applied.

  • The Applicant must be of good character and health.



Talent Visas. (Accredited Employer).


  • Certain employers are “accredited” by Immigration New Zealand as having recognized employment needs. When such an “accredited “ employer selects staff for a minimum 24 month assignment, their choice is normally supported by Immigration New Zealand.

  • A minimum salary level applies and applicants must be of good health and character.



Working Holiday Visas.


  • 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.


  • Under some circumstances religious organisations can apply for Work Visas for religious workers.



Partnership Visa (New Zealand partner).


  • If an applicant has lived together with a New Zealand partner for less than 12 months, a 12 month work 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 he or she is 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 New Zealand partner.)


  • 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. 



Post Study 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 (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, cause confusion, leading to big problems and disappointments for students. Take professional advice.



Student and trainee Visa.


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.



Visa for specific purpose or event. 


There are many ways these visas are applied but typically they 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. 



Other Specialist Categories.


  • Other specialist visas include Horticultural and Viticulture Seasonal Workers and Foreign Crews of Fishing Vessels.



Work to Residence.


Any person who is 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 (Accredited Employer).

  • Talent Visa (Arts, Culture and Sport).

  • Essential Skills Visa (but only if the job is on the Long Term Skill Shortage List).

  • Religious Worker Visa.

  • Global Impact Visa


For holders of the above work visas, only, residence can follow after 2 or 3 years employment, subject to good health and character, and to a number of other specific requirements. Refer to "Work to Residence" 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 there are unique procedures that need to be followed in some cases (such as gaining the support of local Union organizations).


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


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