Work Visas

Note: Applications from people outside New Zealand for most temporary work visas remain suspended until at least May 2021. There will also be changes to the work visa rules by about mid-2021 where employer accreditation will become compulsory. These changes will impact employers and workers (those either holding a current work visa or applying for a new work visa).

Visas in New Zealand are highly sought after, but applying for them can be a stressful, complex, and time-consuming process. The stakes are high and the cost of failure severe. We understand that New Zealand Immigration visa application services need to be treated with the highest priority and the greatest of care.

There are several temporary work visa options available, but how you do know which work visa is right for you? Are you even eligible for the work visa you want? What happens if your work visa runs into trouble?

If you fit within any of the following scenarios then you may be eligible to apply for a work visa to New Zealand:

  • I have a job offer from a New Zealand employer
  • My partner is a New Zealand citizen/resident or has a work visa
  • I want to come to New Zealand for a specific purpose or event
  • I have just completed a qualification in New Zealand
  • I have a job offer that is in shortage in New Zealand
  • I am a traveller from a country that has an approved Working Holiday Scheme in New Zealand

Visa Category Requirements

To satisfy Immigration New Zealand requirements you will need to meet certain health and character standards, as well as meeting the requirements of your particular work visa category.

Essential Skills work visa

This may be the most frequently-used work visa category, however, a job offer in New Zealand does not necessarily guarantee a work visa. It is critical for you and your employer to understand the strict policy requirements in place under this category.

  • Has your employer made genuine attempts to find suitable local New Zealand citizens/residents for the position?
  • If you think you are in a skill shortage position, do you satisfy the specific immigration requirement for that occupation?

Partner of a New Zealander or work visa holder

If you are living with a New Zealand citizen or resident in a stable and genuine relationship, you may qualify for this type of work visa.

However, with a number of requirements to meet, being the partner or spouse of a New Zealand citizen, resident or work visa holder does not automatically guarantee a work visa.

While there is no minimum “living together” period under this category, it is important to understand the various criteria that Immigration New Zealand applies when determining whether your relationship is genuine and stable. Your application requires attention to detail and careful compliance with immigration requirements.

Work to Residence work visa

If you have exceptional talent in the arts, cultural or sports fields, are qualified in a specialised or in-demand occupation or have an offer of employment from an accredited employer in New Zealand, this work visa may be your path to residence in New Zealand.

This application requires a job offer from a New Zealand employer.

Specific Purpose work visa

This type of application requires a job offer from a New Zealand employer, and it is most suited for specialised type of work such as entertainers, performing artists, film crew, sports coaches and players, business investors etc.

Post-Study work visa

If you have just completed a qualification in New Zealand, you could possibly be eligible to apply for a work visa with open conditions. The duration of the work visa will depend on the qualification level you studied if you completed it outside of Auckland.

This special work visa category allows you to find skilled employment relevant to your completed course and thereby increase your chance of meeting residence criteria under the Skilled Migrant Category.

Is your work visa application in trouble?

On occasions, even the most straightforward work visa applications can run into problems. Those problems can be medical conditions, criminal convictions, visa officers misapplying the instructions or assessing you as not eligible for a visa you applied for. Quick intervention can often save an application from being declined.

Pacific Legal has experience in dealing with cases involving complex medical and character waivers and problems with labour market tests.

Please note that offshore applications for the above categories are on hold while the New Zealand Border is closed.

Other Critical Purpose visa: Open during border closure

If you are on a high income or are coming to complete an approved infrastructure or science-related project which is time-critical and if you have skills that are not readily available in New Zealand, your employer may seek approval for you to be granted a special work visa. This is an exception to the border closure.

Pacific Legal has had significant success with this category but the requirements are very challenging.

Talk To Us

Contact us today to speak to one of our Immigration Lawyers

Pacific Legal has advised on hundreds of work visa applications, in addition to providing specialised corporate visa services for employers. If you have a job offer in New Zealand and are thinking of applying for a work visa, or your work visa application has run into difficulties, be sure to contact us for professional advice and representation.