The South Island Contribution Visa

About the South Island Contribution Visa

This visa policy was meant to be a path to New Zealand residence for long term holders of New Zealand work visas. 


The policy is no longer in place.


The former South Island Contribution Visa explained

If you have been employed in the South Island of New Zealand as the holder of an Essential Skills Work Visa for five years or more, now might be your unique chance to become a permanent resident.  


Step 1: The South Island Contribution Work Visa

To be eligible you must have been employed full time in the South Island for 5 years as the holder of an Essential Skills Work Visa as at 22 May 2017 and you must apply before 23 May 2018.

With the South Island Contribution Work Visa you can 

  • Work in the industry and region specified on your current Essential Skills Work Visa.
  • Apply for residence after 2 years. 

You can’t include a partner or dependent children in your work visa application, but they can apply for visas based on their relationship to you.

Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers how they can help you ensure that your family can stay in New Zealand together with you.


Step 2: The South Island Contribution Resident Visa

This resident visa is for people who hold a South Island Contribution Work Visa.

If you have remained employed in the same industry and region for 2 years since you were granted a South Island Contribution Work Visa, you may be eligible for this resident visa.

You may include your partner and dependent children aged 24 and under in your residence application.


Our Licensed Immigration Adviser Julia Cooke is currently working on a number of South Island Contribution Work Visa applications for our clients. 

Julia says: "We had great feedback from work visa holders who have been working in New Zealand for a number of years without a realistic chance to eventually gain residence.

Although well qualified and in high demand in New Zealand, these migrants have previously not been eligible for resident visas under the Skilled Migrant Category because their employment was not classified as "skilled" under the Skilled Migrant policy. 

New Zealand employers have also jumped to the opportunity to retain their employees longterm and are supporting their migrant workers throughout this process. 


Julia advises to act quickly, because this policy, which has been in effect for only a few weeks now, since May 22, will close in just one year, on May 22 2018. 

If you are the holder of an Essential Skills Work Visa or a New Zealand employer wanting to know more about the South Island Contribution Visa, please contact Julia directly by emailing to

Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers

If you want to find out more about obtaining the right visa for New Zealand, contact Julia Cooke, Licensed Immigration Adviser at NZIC.

Ask Julia for a Free Assessment