New Zealand offers a range of work visas. All are temporary, though some can lead to residence. Temporary visas allow you to live and work in New Zealand for a set period of time. Working temporarily can be used as a step towards gaining residence and settling here permanently.
Choosing the right visa
There may be a number of visas you are eligible to apply for – each with its own criteria and application process. There are a range of work visas for people that work in a profession that is experiencing skill shortages or have a job offer from a New Zealand employer. Most work visas do not have an age limit.
Essential Skills work visas
These visas are meant for temporary stays. The duration and conditions of the visa depends on the term of your job offer, your salary and labour market conditions.
Work to Residence visas
There are two main types of Work to Residence visa which enable you to work in New Zealand and then, after working in the job for at least 24 months, apply for a resident visa.
- Work to Residence: Long Term Skill Shortage
If you have a permanent or long-term job offer in an occupation on the Long Term Skill Shortage List and your qualifications and experience match, you could apply for a Work to Residence Visa. You’ll need to meet the age, health and character requirements.
- Work to Residence: Accredited Employer
If you have a long-term or permanent job offer from an Immigration New Zealand accredited employer you could apply for a work to residence visa. You’ll need to meet the age, health and character requirements, and your job offer will need to meet certain requirements.
Post-study work visas
If you have acceptable qualifications(s) that you completed in New Zealand, you can apply for a visa to work here. Depending on your qualification and where you studied, you can work for any employer for between 1 and 3 years and do almost any work.
You can only apply for this visa once, unless you complete a second higher qualification at bachelor’s degree level or higher. You cannot provide commercial sexual services or operate or invest in a business that does. If you complete your study outside Auckland before the end of 2021, your work visa can be valid for 2 or 3 years.
Working holiday visas
Working holiday visas are available to young people, usually aged 18 to 30, but 18 to 35 in a select few countries. They let you travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months, or 23 months if you are from the UK or Canada.
Changes to temporary work visas
Between now and 2021, New Zealand Immigration is making changes to the way employers recruit some migrants for temporary work in New Zealand. The changes will be introduced in stages and fully rolled out in 2021.
Some visas and employer schemes will be replaced
From 2021, a new temporary work visa will replace 6 existing visas:
- Essential Skills Work Visa
- Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle
- Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
- Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
- Silver Fern Job Search Visa, and
- Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.
At the same time 2 employer schemes will be removed:
- approval in principle (AIP) before an employer hires workers on an Essential Skills Work Visa
- accreditation as a Talent Accredited Employer.