To get a job you need a visa

When you are looking for work in New Zealand, your employer will ask you whether you have a visa that allows you to take up employment.

But it is very likely that you do not have a visa when you start applying for jobs in New Zealand.

Once again you find yourself caught in the Catch22 dilemma: no visa - no job - no visa - no job - no visa.


Here are three examples to explain the consequences this will have for you:

A typical migrant inquiry:

"Hi Katrin, My husband Paul and I have been exploring the possibility of emigrating to New Zealand. We have already been advised that we would require job offers in order to secure visas. The biggest challenge we are encountering is in applying for vacancies in New Zealand. Do you offer assistance in this regard?"


The usual feedback from a recruiter on a job application:

'Dear A. Thank you for your recent application for work in New Zealand. Whilst the New Zealand market is currently seeking skilled candidates, most employers prefer to interview candidates face to face rather than conduct phone or video conference interviews. It is also preferred that you already are eligible to work in New Zealandand be available within 4 weeks. Please get back in contact with us once you have obtained either residency or a work permit and we would be only too happy to assist. Good luck with your job search. Regards, RG '


Employer reservations

Many employers have reservations about going through the relatively lengthy, complicated and bureaucratic visa application process in support of a migrant candidate. This might make it difficult for you to convince a potential employer that you are still the best candidate for the role. 


It is important that you get your visa application right the first time

New Zealand's immigration regulations are complex. A large number of visa applications gets declined because the applicant did not meet the strict visa policy requirements.

Having a visa application declined or experiencing delays in processing times because Immigration New Zealand is not satisfied that all requirements are met is both time consuming and stressful.

Your New Zealand employer expects you to start working in your new job as soon as possible and you cannot afford to lose the job offer because the employer is finding the visa application process too lengthy or complicated.

While you are waiting for your visa to be approved, you will live on your savings and with the uncertainty of whether you will be able to start working and earning an income in the near future.


What kind of visa will you need?

You will need a Work Visa or a Resident Visa 

Work Visa 

A work visa will allow you to work in New Zealand temporarily. 

There are different types of work visas but the most common one is the General Skills Work Visa.

In short, to be eligible, you need a New Zealand job offer, relevant qualifications and work experience, and you will have to meet health and character requirements. 

In addition to that your employer will have to demonstrate that no New Zealander can be found to fill the position offered to you (Labour Market Test).

The visa application process is complex and requires specialist knowledge of the Immigration law and of the Labour Market. New Zealand employers are legally obliged to ensure that they only employ staff with current valid work visas. High penalties apply for employers who do not comply with this law.

Please note: A General Skills work visa will be granted for a limited time and under the provision that you remain in that specific job, as stipulated in your visa and as shown in your passport. If you leave your job, your work visa will expire and if you want to switch jobs, you will have to apply for a new work visa. 


Resident Visa 

If you really want to work and live in New Zealand on the long run, you will want to apply for a resident visa.

The advantages of obtaining a resident visa are huge, as it will give you more freedom when developing your career and secure your status in New Zealand for the future. 

As your resident visa is not bound to a specific employer, you will be able to move between jobs as you like.

Any changes in your circumstances, i.e. to your health or your partnership status, will not endanger your right to remain in New Zealand, and as a holder of a long term visa you will be covered by the public health care system. 

The majority of resident visa applications is lodged under the Skilled Migrant Category. Applicants have to demonstrate that they have the professional skills needed in New Zealand and the ability to settle successfully in New Zealand. 

As part of the visa application process, skilled migrants have to complete an Expression of Interest and claim points for settlement factors, such as qualifications, work experience, age etc.

Just as for the skilled work visa, a New Zealand job offer is the core of the resident visa application process.


How we can help

Our Licensed Immigration Advisers can provide you with expert support for your visa application. They will liaise with your potential employer for you, explaining the process, providing support and making the process as smooth as possible for the employer. 


A typical email exchange:

"Good morning Saul

Congratulations on your new work visa!! What a great way to start the week:)
Attached is your Work Visa Confirmation that you must print and keep with your passport at all times. You can give a copy to your new employer and use this to apply for your IRD number.
We can now start your Expression of Interest stage.

Have a great week and we will email you a draft of your EOI as sonn as it is ready. 

Kind regards 

Julia Cooke, Licensed New Zealand Immigration Adviser"


"Hello Julia, it's amazing!!!
Thank you very much, Julia, you are right, it is a great way to start the week. My cheeks are hurting because I can't stop smiling hahaha :D
Now I can start with the back account, IRD and everything else yeah!!!
Thanks again and let's keep going into the next stage, but now I know in a much more relaxed way :)

Saul S."


Read more about working in New Zealand


Are you eligible for a resident visa under Skilled Migrant Category? Find out by using our Quick Self-Check Guide.

Read more about becoming a New Zealand resident through the Skilled Migrant Category:

  • How many points will you need to have a realistic chance?
  • Will you be able to claim points for your qualifications?
  • Will you be able to claim bonus points for your professional expertise?
  • Do you have to be registered in New Zealand?
  • Will you meet the English language requirements?

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