Apply for a Work Visa for New Zealand

If you want to work during your stay in New Zealand, you will have to obtain a work visa.

There are four different pathways you can choose from when applying for a work visa:

  1. The skilled stream;
  2. The family stream;
  3. The international/humanitarian stream; and
  4. The special work stream.

Skilled stream

Skilled migrants have a broad range of options available for their work visa application process:
  1. Work to residence
  2. Essential skills
  3. Specific purpose or event
  4. Students/trainees
  5. ‘Work to Residence' for migrants whose skills are in demand - provides them with a pathway to residence.
  6. ‘Essential skills' facilitates the entry of people required on a temporary basis to fill shortages where New Zealanders are not available for the work offered.
  7. ‘Specific purpose or event' for migrants who have demonstrated skills, expertise or attributes that are likely to benefit New Zealand, where there is no risk of negative impact on opportunities for New Zealanders.
  8. ‘Students and trainees' for students and trainees to gain practical work experience or to train as part of their studies.

Family stream

The Family stream enables partners of visa holders to undertake temporary employment in New Zealand:

  1. partners of New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders, and partners of Long Term Business Visa holders, whose ultimate intention is likely to be to apply for residence; and
  2. partners of holders of work visas.

International/Humanitarian stream

The International and Humanitarian stream consists of:

  1. working holiday schemes to allow people from other countries to be granted permission to work on a reciprocal basis; and
  2. provisions to enable New Zealand to meet its humanitarian and international obligations.


Special work policies stream

The special work stream consists of:

  1. horticulture and viticulture seasonal work visas
  2. foreign crew of fishing vessels visas
  3. religious worker visas

The horticulture and viticulture seasonal work instructions facilitate the entry of seasonal workers to support the horticulture and viticulture industries

The foreign crew of fishing vessels instructions provide for the grant of work visas to foreign crew employed on fishing vessels in New Zealand’s fisheries waters

The religious worker instructions enable the entry of workers to undertake genuine religious work in New Zealand, providing New Zealand communities with the opportunity to practice, maintain and advance their religious beliefs.



Requirements for work visa applicants

Unless specifically stated otherwise all applicants for work visas must:

  1. be bona fide applicants and
  2. be of good health and character.

In their work visa application they must produce evidence to show that:

  1. they are suitably qualified by training and experience to do the job they have been offered; and
  2. they can meet any of the necessary requirements to obtain full or provisional New Zealand registration; or
  3. they have an offer of employment and evidence from the New Zealand Medical or Dental Council that they are eligible for registration subject only to attending a personal interview with a Council representative within one month of their arrival in New Zealand

Duty of New Zealand Employers to comply

All employers wishing to employ non-New Zealand citizen or residence class visa holders have a duty to only employ people who are entitled to work in New Zealand.

This duty includes employing people only in accordance with the employment-related conditions of their visas, if such conditions are imposed (such as a specific employer, a specific position, or remuneration above the threshold required for the holder’s Essential Skills skill-band).

All offers of employment must be genuine and sustainable.

An employer who supports a visa application, provides an offer of employment in support of a visa application, or applies for employer status must have a history of compliance with employment law.

Let us know if you are an employer, wishing to employ a migrant. We can help you with all formalities required with this process.

Read more: New Zealand employers who want to employ migrants will need to become accredited with Immigration New Zealand.

We invite all New Zealand employers to attend our webinar on Employer Accreditation Policy Changes, held by our Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr. Carsten Hallwass. Register your interest in attending.

Do you need a work visa?

If you are thinking of migrating to New Zealand and interested in finding employment, take a look at the work visa options and let us know which policy might suit your plans.

To get in touch, just complete our Free Assessment form and tell us more about your plans for New Zealand.

Our Licensed Immigration Advisers will assess your personal and professional background and let you know their professional opinion on the right visa type for you.

Read more about character:

Read more Visa FAQ's:

Read more about Visas for New Zealand:

Read more about the Skill Shortage Lists:

Which Visa is Right for You?

Read more about the Points System:

Read more about health:

The Skill Shortage Lists

Do you want to migrate to New Zealand?

Base your move on solid grounds: Ask us for a Free Assessment first!