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Temporary and permanent stay in NZ

Work Visa

If you wish to take up employment here, you first need to apply for a New Zealand work visa. Employment means any activity undertaken for gain or reward.

There are three work visa categories:

  • Skilled stream
  • Family stream
  • Humanitarian stream

New Zealand work visa applicants under the Skilled/General work policy must provide an offer of employment and meet registration requirements if applicable.

Applicants must also prove that no New Zealand resident or citizen is available to do the work offered to him or her (Labour market Shortages Test).

If an application is based on an offer of employment in an occupation that is included on the current Immediate Skill Shortage List or the Long Term Skill Shortage List, visa officers will accept that no suitably qualified New Zealand citizen or resident is available.

Some employers have an Approval in Principle to employ non-New Zealand citizens or resident workers.

In all other cases, in addition to submitting an offer of employment, applicants must also submit evidence establishing that their prospective employer has made genuine attempts to attract and recruit suitable workers in New Zealand, but that there are no New Zealand citizens or residents suitably qualified by training and experience available, or readily able to be trained to do the work offered.

In addition to meeting the above requirements, applicants must also meet health and character requirements, and be bona fide applicants.

Under theFamily work policy partners of local citizens or residents may be issued with a New Zealand work visa if they are in a genuine and stable relationship, the New Zealand partner intends to be in New Zealand for the same period of time and supports the application.

Special work visas are available for partners of current work visa holders, or those who hold visas issued under Long Term Business Visa Policy and Work to Residence (Skilled Migrant Category) Policy.

To find out whether you might be eligible for a work visa under the General Work policy you can contact us for an assessment

Visitor Visa

If you wish to stay in New Zealand for a certain time, but are not planning to migrate permanently, you will need to apply for a visa. The type of New Zealand visa you need to obtain depends on your plans for your stay: Visitor, Work, Study and Working Holiday are the most common categories for temporary visas.

In general, visitors to New Zealand who do not intend to work may apply for visitor visas of up to 9 months (in any 18-month period) and might be allowed to stay for a total of 12 months. Citizens of some countries do not need to apply for a visitor visa to enter New Zealand, if they are visiting for three months or less. However, they are still required to provide

  • Travel tickets as evidence of onward travel arrangements, and
  • Evidence of funds for their maintenance while in New Zealand.

Some of the Visa-free countries are Canada, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, USA, Oman, Qatar, Vatican City, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Mexico.

British citizens and other British passport holders who produce evidence of the right to reside permanently in the UK can visit for up to six months without a visa.

Australian citizens and holders of a current resident return visa issued by the Commonwealth of Australia do not need a visa.

To find out more about visitor visa, please contact us.

Student Visa

The purpose of New Zealand's student policy is to facilitate the entry of genuine students.

Applicants seeking a New Zealand student visa must have an offer of a place in an approved course with an education provider that meets instructions requirements, be exempted from or have paid course fees, and meet requirements for bona fide applicants and health and character.

For information about approved courses with a New Zealand education provider, please contact us.

Residence in New Zealand

If you wish to migrate to New Zealand, you need to apply to Immigration New Zealand for resident status. Resident status in New Zealand entitles you to live, study and work indefinitely in New Zealand.

Residence Visa

A Residence Visa is normally valid for one year and is for a single entry. You must use this visa before its expiry in order to activate your resident status. This visa allows you to travel to New Zealand and be granted a Residence Visa on arrival.

Permanent Residence Visa

A Residence Visa allows you to reside in New Zealand for an indefinite period. However, this permit will expire once you leave New Zealand.

If you wish to leave New Zealand temporarily after taking up residence, you must have a valid Returning Residence Visa in your passport to ensure your re-entry into New Zealand. You will be issued your first Returning Resident's Visa when residence is approved.

Categories of residence visa

There are four main categories for residence applications in New Zealand:

  • Skilled Migrant Category
  • Business
  • Family
  • Refugee Family Quota

Business Categories

The objective of the business immigration policy is to attract migrants who will contribute to economic growth through:

  • Increasing New Zealand's level of human capital; and
  • Encouraging enterprise and innovation; and
  • Fostering external links.

There are currently four business categories available:

Investor Category

The Investor Category has two pathways – Investor Plus and Investor which is a points based system. This means you score points based on a number of factors such as age, business experience and investment funds. Your application will only be successful if you score sufficient points to meet the pass mark.

Entrepreneur Category

You may apply under the Entrepreneur Category if you have successfully established a business in New Zealand for a period of at least two years.

Long Term Business Visa/Permit

You may apply for a Long Term Business Visa/Permit if you are interested in applying for residence under the Entrepreneur Category. You may also apply under this category if you are interested in establishing a business in New Zealand but do not wish to live permanently in New Zealand. This is not a residence policy. You will be granted a work visa or permit for up to three years if your application is successful.

Employees of Relocating Businesses

You may apply under the Employees of Relocating Businesses category if you are a key employee of a business relocating to New Zealand. This category is set up to assist the promotion of New Zealand as a place in which to invest and locate business, by facilitating the granting of residence to employees of businesses relocating to New Zealand.

Family Category

The objective of Family Category Policy is to strengthen families and communities, while reinforcing the Government's overall objectives in immigration policy.

The Family Category is available to you if you:

  • Are in a genuine and stable relationship (either legally married or in an interdependent partnership akin to a marriage, whether heterosexual or same sex) with a New Zealand citizen or resident who sponsors their application; or
  • Have immediate family members who are New Zealand citizens or residents and who live permanently in New Zealand, or
  • Are the dependent children of New Zealand citizens or residents.

Skilled Migrant Category

The Skilled Migrant Category is designed to match the skills that migrants bring, with the skills New Zealand needs. Specifically New Zealand is looking to build its capacity. New Zealand is looking for people with skills that will help the Country achieve sustainable growth and feed innovation in New Zealand. New Zealand is looking for people who will build global connections and at the same time enrich the communities in which they live.

How the Skilled Migrant Category works

Applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category involves you submitting an Expression of Interest in applying for residence. In this Expression of Interest you determine the points you may claim as skilled migrant. To be considered under this category you need to be of good health, good character, have a reasonable standard of English and be under 56 years of age. You will also need to meet the threshold of 100 points to register an Expression of Interest.

The points system

The points system is designed to allow Expressions of Interest to be ranked so that New Zealand can extend invitations to apply for residence to people who have the most to offer New Zealand. Points are available for skilled employment in New Zealand, work experience, qualifications and age. Bonus points are available for employment in areas of identified future growth or absolute skills shortage or within identified clusters. Bonus points are also available for employment outside Auckland and for New Zealand qualifications gained in New Zealand over at least two years.

Expressions of Interest that meet the prerequisites and the minimum points score go into the Expression of Interest Pool, where they are ranked from highest to lowest according to their point scores. The government then makes regular selections of the highest ranked Expressions of Interest from the Pool.

Minimum requirements for a resident application under the Skilled Migrant Category are:

  • Good health
  • Good character
  • Good English language capabilities
  • Age limit of 55 years
  • Point score of at least 100 under the points system and meet the selection criteria during the currency of the Expression of Interest

The application process under the Skilled Migrant Category consists of two main stages:

  • Expression of Interest
  • Residence Application

In some cases a third stage, an assessment of the applicant`s qualifications, will be necessary.

For a quick self-assessment of your chances go to contact uspage. Get in touch with us today, and let us assist you in getting a New Zealand visa fit for your circumstances.

Points can be claimed for employability and capacity building factors:

Current skilled employment in NZ for 12 months or more 60
Offer of skilled employment in New Zealand or current skilled employment in New Zealand for less than 12 months 50
2 years 10
4 years 15
6 years 20
8 years 25
10 years 30

you can qualify for points for qualification such as trade certificates, diplomas, bachelor degrees and postgraduate qualifications. Your qualifications must align with those Immigration New Zealand have accepted in the List of Recognized Qualifications.

If your qualification does not appear on this list Immigration New Zealand may require New Zealand Qualifications Authority to assess your qualification. The points you earn for a recognized qualification will depend on what level Immigration New Zealand assess your qualification to be on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

See definition of recognised basic qualification at NZIS website
See definition of recognised post-graduate qualification at NZIS website
Recognised basic qualification (e.g. trade qualification, diploma, bachelors degree, bachelors degree with Honours) 50
Recognised post-graduate qualification (Masters degree, Doctorate) 55
AGE (20 TO 55 YEARS) Points  
20-29 30
30-39 25
40-44 20
45-49 10
50-55 5

You can also qualify for bonus points for employment in specific industry areas, employment outside Auckland and qualifications gained in New Zealand.
You will have a better chance of qualifying for residence if you have skills that New Zealand employers are finding hard to source within New Zealand. Bonus points are available for employment, work experience and qualifications in identified areas of growth or absolute skill shortage or within identified clusters. Bonus points are also available for employment outside Auckland and for qualifications gained in New Zealand over at least two years.

See definition of future growth areas at NZIS website
See definition of clusters at NZIS website
See definition of absolute skills shortage at NZIS website
See definition of outside of Auckland at NZIS website
See definition of recognised NZ qualification at NZIS website
Factors for which you may gain bonus Points:- Bonus
Skilled employment;
Bonus points for employment or offer of employment in:
  • An identified future growth area, identified cluster, area of absolute skills shortage
  • Region outside Auckland
  • Partner employment or offer of employment
Work experience;
Bonus points if work experience in New Zealand
  • 2 years
  • 4 years
  • 6 years
Additional bonus points for work experience in an identified future growth area, identified cluster or area of absolute skills shortage:
  • 2 to 5 years
  • 6 years or more
Bonus points for:
  • Recognised New Zealand qualification (and at least two years study in NZ)
  • Qualification in an identified future growth area, cluster or area of absolute skill shortage

A partner's recognised qualification only qualifies for points under this provision if:
  • the partner is included in the application; and
  • the partner meets the English language requirements for principal applicants
  • and the principal applicant and their partner have been living together for 12 months or more in a partnership that is genuine and stable
Partner Qualifications 10

If you score 100 points or more and meet health, character, language and age requirements, you might be eligible for a resident visa under Skilled Migrant Category.

Please note that there are immigration instructions that you must meet in order for your qualification, employment and work experience to be recognized for points under the skilled migrant category. We at Ace Consultants Ltd can help you with assessing your situation and lodging your application is accepted and maybe approved for residence.

We are more than happy to assess your chances and give you a realistic idea of what might be involved for you and your family to obtain your resident visas. Ask our Licensed Immigration Adviser at Ace Consultants Ltd for a free assessment of your chances: click here (should go to the link with personal information)