Short and Long term Work Visas
The Skilled Migrant Category is the most common way for North Americans with the skills, qualifications and experience to work and live permanently in New Zealand.
Brief Overview –
- To apply under this category applicant’s must meet all requirements – 20-56, acceptable standard of health, character, and English language proficiency. We strongly recommend checking the online Points Indicator to see how points are allocated and the score accumulated.
- If you qualify, first step is to file an Expression of Interest (EOI) where points are claimed for skills, experience, age, education etc.
- Every two weeks Immigration NZ draws from the pool and all EOIs over 140 points are automatically selected for an invitation to apply. After this lower scoring EOIs are selected based on certain factors such as skill set. (Note-the 140 point under the SMC is subject to change at anytime and is used to adjust “flows”.)
- Once an EOI is drawn from the pool Immigration NZ do a high level check and if they find it to be credible an Invitation to Apply (ITA) is sent to the applicant. At this point applicants must prove their claims and provide supporting documentation such as medical and police certificates, education diplomas, certificates, proof of partnership etc.
- Once Immigration NZ receives the application and supporting documentation, they assess applicants for residence. They make sure applicants meet all requirements and that points claimed are valid.
- Applicants are also assessed on their ability to settle successfully in New Zealand.
Work to Residence (WTR)
This work visa gets applicants on the pathway towards New Zealand permanent residence. Work visas are issued for 30 months and allow successful appllicants to work in the occupation and for the employer specified on the visa label. Once visa holders have held their work visa for 24 months they are eligible to be considered for residency.
To be eligible for this visa applicants need a job offer from an accredited* employer or the job is in an area of long term skill shortage. The job offer needs to be for a minimum of 24 months with a minimum salary of NZ$55,000. And the applicant needs to be 55 years old or younger.
*An accredited employer has been through a screening process with Immigration New Zealand.
This category of work visa is applied for when an applicant has a skilled offer of employment that is not from an Accredited Employer. It is considered a temporary entry work visa, and does not automatically lead to New Zealand residence. Applications under this category will usually be approved if the results of a labor market test indicate that there are no suitable New Zealand workers available to fill the position. There is no age limit under this category and the visa is usually issued for the same duration as the contract. There is no limit to how many times you may apply under this category.
This work visa is applied for when a person has been seconded to a New Zealand company as an inter-corporate transferee. In support of this application applicants require an offer of employment with the New Zealand company they have been seconded to and a letter of support from their current employer. The maximum duration of this visa is three years. This category also applies to those applying – e.g. – as a sports person, where a visa can be granted for up to 12 months at a time.
Open Work Visa based on Partnership
This visa is for applicants in a relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident. It does not require an offer of employment and can be granted for 1 – 5 years. Applicants need to prove partnership as stipulated by Immigration New Zealand - a “genuine and stable relationship” and proof of having lived together for more than one year.
Standard requirements for a work visa application
Apart from the specific requirements for the categories above, all work visa applications need to include:
- For a stay of more than 6 months – a full chest x-ray certificate if the applicant comes from a country on the TB list or have visited a country on that list.
- For a stay of more than 12 months – a full medical and chest x-ray certificate.
- For a stay of more than 24 months – a national police certificate from the applicant’s country of citizenship and any country they have lived in for more than 5 years since the age of 17.
- Evidence of professional registration if the job offer requires this.