Can you Come to New Zealand to Look for a Job?

A question we are often asked is: "Can I look for a job while I am in New Zealand as a tourist on a visitor visa?"

The bottom line is: You are not allowed to work while you are in New Zealand on a visitor visa.

When travelling to New Zealand you will need a visitor visa to be in our country as a tourist. If you want to take up employment you must hold a work visa.

Even if you are a citizen of one of the visa waiver countries you will have to declare your intentions on your arrival card when you arrive in New Zealand.

Immigration New Zealand will look into your reasons for coming to New Zealand before granting you a visitor visa, whether you apply for it while you are still in your home country or on arrival in New Zealand,  They will assess your intentions and determine how likely it is that you will actually leave New Zealand at the end of your stay.

Only if you are "bona fide" you will be granted a visa for New Zealand, which means genuine and legitimate. Immigration New Zealand must be convinced that you are honest about your reasons for coming to New Zealand and that you will leave New Zealand when your visa expires.  

To accept that you are bona fide, INZ must be convinced that you:

  • genuinely intend on staying only temporarily in New Zealand
  • are coming to New Zealand for lawful purposes
  • will comply with the conditions of your visa once in New Zealand
  • will not remain in New Zealand unlawfully
  • will be able to leave New Zealand at the end of your stay

Are you coming to New Zealand for a lawful purpose?

Immigration New Zealand accepts that you are coming to New Zealand for a lawful purpose if the reason you have given them when you applied for your visa is consistent with your actual plan for New Zealand.  

If you have applied for a Visitor Visa or are from a visa waiver country, to be considered lawful you are allowed to be in New Zealand for

  • holidaying
  • sightseeing
  • visiting family and friends
  • amateur sports
  • getting married

Immigration New Zealand will not accept that you are bona fide if they believe that

  • your reason for coming to New Zealand is different from the reason you gave in your visa application or arrival card
  • you’re likely to breach the conditions of your visa
  • it’s unlikely you’ll be able to leave or be deported from New Zealand to your country of citizenship. This can happen if the New Zealand Government restricts deportations to your home country, or you don’t have the right documents to return to your home country.

Our advice for you:

It is absolutely essential that you consider very carefully what you are about to declare when you complete your visa application or arrival card.

You must be totally truthful or risk far-reaching consequences for your chances of migrating to New Zealand.

If Immigration New Zealand suspects that you have provided any false or misleading information about your situation or reasons for coming to New Zealand you will be declined a visa or entry permission on character grounds. Once you have been declined a visa on character grounds,  any further visa applications will be decidedly more complicated.

Talk to our Licensed Immigration Advisers about your visa situation if you want to come to New Zealand to look for work or attend a job interview!

Read more Job Search FAQ's:

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Essential Job Search Tips for your Job Hunt in New Zealand
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Job Searching in NZ

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NZIC helped me in my way to get a Visa and job search. They were always available to talk to and were open to all sorts of questions. No matter how random they were. Very friendly staff. And even when they had changes in employee and advisors, they always stayed professional and up to date. I can only say good things and recommend them highly.

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At first, Maj kindly explained the whole process and what to expect. I was coached and introduced to New Zealand job market by their Job Search team, and getting assistance until I got a job in the country. The Visa team would also follow me up on my pending documents, so I never felt left out. Truly recommended for those seeking out an option to live in New Zealand. Big thanks from me and my whole family for things NZIC did for us..!

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Very pleased and satisfied with the service we received from NZIC. They assisted me and my family from start to finish. Always willing to assist, and communicated our progress every step of the way. With their assistance we managed to obtain permanent resident visa status.

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