Work visas in New Zealand


If you wish to work in New Zealand, you can choose among different types of work visas. Find out more in this article.

The skilled migration visa 

The skilled migration visa is the work visa that leads to the permanent residence visa in New Zealand. To qualify, applicants must be aged between 20 to 56 years old, have a good level of English, meet the health standards in New Zealand and possess skills needed on the local labor market. A point-based system has been set up to evaluate ans select immigrants:

  • if you have accumulated 140 points or more, you are qualified. Points are given according to your professional qualifications, your age and the job for which you are submitting a visa application. Extra points are given according to the nature of the position you are about to fill or the geographical area in which you are about to work in New Zealand.

  • if you have accumulated 100 points or more but do not reach 140 points, your application will only be considered if there are still visas available.

Consistent information regarding your background, your professional skills and your motivation must be written down in your “expression of interest” letter upon which your visa application is based. For more information about how to write an expression of interest letter, and for a general overview of the procedure, please consult the Expression of Interest Guide online

Once your expression letter of interest completed and accepted, the New Zealand Immigration services will send you an official invitation to submit your visa application. You will then have to send all the supporting documents and certificates requested in order to process visa your application such as:

  • application form for residence in New Zealand form duly completed;

  • passports and two photos of you and your dependants;

  • birth certificates;

  • professional certificates;

  • X-ray and medical certificate;

  • a police certificate;

  • payment of the fees.

Quotas apply and visas are in short supply. Fees apply. If your application is successful, you will be allowed to live and work in New Zealand on a permanent basis.


1. write an expression of interest letter and send it to the immigration authorities.
2. upon acceptation by the immigration authorities, send your visa application.
3. the immigration services can either accept your application and give you your residence, or refuse your residence but give you a work to residence visa.

  Good to know:

If your residence visa is refused, you can still apply for a work visa. Once in New Zealand with your work visa, you will be alowed to re-apply for a permanent residence visa provided that you have found an eligible position.

  Useful links:

Immigration New Zealand – Skilled migration application process

Expression of Interest Guide

Work to residence visa

In order to get a work visa in New Zealand, you need first to get a valid job offer or a work contract from an employer in the country. The position offered must be eligible and indexed in the authorized profession lists. If your job is listed on the Immediate Skill Shortage list, you can get a work visa valid up to 3 years. If your job is listed on the Long Term Skill Shortage list, you can get a work visa valid up to 2 years after which you can apply for a permanent residence visa in New Zealand.

If your position is neither listed in the Skill Shortage List nor in the Long Term Shortage List, you can still get a work to residence visa provided that your employer is authorized to hire foreign staff. You can apply for a work to residence visa if you have any sporting, cultural or artistic talents (Talent Work Policy) or if you are an investor in New Zealand. 
Eventually, if your job is not indexed in any list, or if your employer is not authorized to hire foreign staff, you still can apply for a work to residence visa provided that your employer proves to the authorities that efforts were made to hire local staff.

If requirements are met, you can apply for your work visa by sending out the application form together with your credentials and all the requested documents, including a copy of your employment contract. Fees apply. To find out more about the application procedure, please visit the New Zealand Immigration website.

For more information about work visas, visit the website of the embassy of New Zealand in your country or visit the New Zealand Immigration website.

Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand

Holders of a working holiday visa can live, work or study in New Zealand for a period up to 12 months. If you intend to study, note that the study period must not exceed 3 months. Applicants must be aged between 18 and 30 years old, have no dependant children travelling with them and hold a passport valid 15 months after arrival date and issued in one of the 22 countries that have signed agreements with New Zealand on the working holiday programme including Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Hong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay.

Proof of sufficient funds to maintain yourself in New Zealand during your stay is mandatory. Fees apply for the visa. If all requirements are met, you will get your working holiday visa within 5 to 10 days.

Applications can be sent online or by post mail. To download information packages and forms, or to learn more about the working holiday program, please visit the website of the embassy of New Zealand in your country. Applicants to the working holiday programme have to take out private health insurance before departure.

  Useful link:

Working holiday visa in New Zealand – Immigration New Zealand

Other types of visa

If you're traveling to New Zealand for a convention, for a short mission or any other business purpose, you need to apply for a "specific purpose work visa”. Procedures are the same as for traditional work visas.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
3 years ago

Very interesting article, thank you. Who can help me to assess the number of points I have please? Thank you, Linsey

3 years ago

What visa do people like me who don't want to FIND a ob, but to remain self-employed and provide OTHERS with part time/contract work? Entreprenuarial visa? Any advice would be welcome : )

4 years ago

very nice and helpful Article.


See also

The Working Holiday Visa (WHV) allowing you to work in New Zealand during 12 months if you are between 18 and 30 years old.
Hamilton, in New Zealand, has a thriving and booming economy. Several sectors such as industry, research, technology are recruiting foreign manpower.
Dunedin, in New Zealand, offers many job opportunities in various sectors, including information technology and communication, education, tourism, etc.
The economy of Christchurch, is mainly based on the agriculture and agri-food exports. There are also many industries which have a huge employment potential.
Wellington, in New Zealand, has a dynamic labor market. It is possible to find a job in the fields of engineering, ICT, tourism, etc.

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