People wishing to work in New Zealand need to obtain a work visa before coming to New Zealand.
There are various reasons you may be granted a work visa, depending on your circumstances. This may include coming to New Zealand with an offer of employment or for another work-related purpose, work following completion of study, a working holiday, or joining your partner. Some other work visas available are for seasonal work in the horticulture and viticulture industries, religious workers, and foreign crew of fishing vessels. Certain work visas may provide pathways to residency. Note that all visas are subject to generic health and character requirements.
Each type of work visa has different criteria and application processes. Some of the most common work visas are:
Accredited Employer Work Visa
This newly introduced visa replaces six previous work visas. You must have an offer of employment from an accredited employer, plus the skills and qualifications to match the job offer. The employer needs to have demonstrated that they have attempted unsuccessfully to recruit New Zealanders for the position, with some exceptions depending on your occupation and remuneration. Under this visa, certain high-paying positions and occupations on the Green List offer pathways to residency. For further information, please click here.
Working Holiday Visa
If you are aged 18 to 30 and your main intention is to holiday in New Zealand, with work being a secondary intention to help fund your travels, this visa allows you to remain in New Zealand for up to 12 months.
There are limitations on the length of time you can spend working, and conditions vary depending on the country you are from. New Zealand has a reciprocal agreement with the United Kingdom and Canada, allowing citizens of those countries to stay for up to 23 months.
While you are in New Zealand under this visa, you should not undertake permanent employment unless you apply and obtain another type of work visa. For more information, on requirements, please click here for the particular working holiday visa scheme from the country you are from.
Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports)
This visa is suitable if you have exceptional talent in a field of art, culture or sport and are under the age of 55. You will also need to be sponsored by a nationally recognised organisation in your field. Click here for more information.
Entrepreneur Work Visa
This work visa category allows the holder to establish business in New Zealand. It is a specialist area that is now handled separately from other Immigration New Zealand visas. It is advisable to seek the assistance of a business immigration professional. Please click here for more information.
Post-Study Work Visa
If you have successfully completed an acceptable qualification in New Zealand you may be eligible to apply for a Post-study Work Visa. This is an open work visa that does not require an offer of employment; however, you must have NZ$5,000 available as funds to support yourself. The visa must be applied for no later than three months after the completion of study, or no later than six months if it is a Doctoral Degree. For more information, please click here.
Specific Purpose or Event Work Visa
This visa allows people to come to New Zealand for a specific purpose or event. The employer must employ you for a defined time period and you must possess the relevant skills. Your specialist skills must be of benefit to New Zealand without taking away opportunities from New Zealanders. For further information click here.
Partnership Work Visa
As with partnership-based visitor visas, there are different types of partnership work visas. These include:
Partner of a Worker Work Visa
Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa
Partner of a Student Work Visa
These visas are open work visas that do not require an offer of employment. They are usually valid for the same length of time as your partner if they are a work or student visa holder. For partners of a New Zealander, it is dependent on the length of time you have been living together.
You must prove that you have been living in a genuine and stable relationship with your partner and that they can support you. Health and character requirements must also be met.
Children cannot be included in this application – they must apply individually for the specific visa they need based on their relationship to you.