Visa Options

Work visa applications are very complex, require careful handling and must meet a high threshold of proof that there are no New Zealand residents or citizens available to fill the positions.

In most cases, the candidate will need a job offer before applying for a work visa , though some migrants already hold an ‘open’ work visa or working holiday visa to work for any employer.

Essential Skills Work Visas

The Essential Skills in Demand Lists are Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ’s) three occupational skill shortage lists. If you offer a job to someone in an occupation on one of the lists and the candidate has qualifications and experience as specified on the list, it is normally easier to obtain an Essential Skills work visa. You can check whether or not an occupation is on one of the skills shortage lists here.

If you have a temporary or short term vacancy in an occupation not listed on the Essential Skills in Demand Lists you may still be able to recruit a worker from overseas. You’ll need to show you have made genuine attempts to recruit New Zealand residents or citizens.

Essential Skills - Approval in Principle

You could apply to Immigration New Zealand for Approval in Principle to recruit workers from overseas. If your application is approved, you’ll have assurance that you can recruit appropriately qualified and experienced people from overseas.

Specific Purpose or Event - Work Visa

If you need to employ someone temporarily for a specific purpose or event, they can apply for a work visa. The people who qualify for this visa have skills and expertise that will benefit New Zealand, such as specialist machinery installers, sports referees, or people involved in film production.

Are you an employer in the horticulture or viticulture industries? Do you need to employ seasonal workers?

If you need seasonal workers to plant, maintain, harvest and pack crops in the horticulture and viticulture industries, you might like to consider becoming a Recognised Seasonal Employer.

Do you wish to engage foreign fishing crew?

To engage foreign fishing crew you must request an approval in principle from Immigration New Zealand.

How about people with ‘open’ work visas to work for any employer?

Working Holiday Schemes

You can temporarily employ young people from overseas who are travelling around New Zealand on Working Holiday visas. They can work for any employer.

International Students

Many international students studying full-time in New Zealand are able to work for any employer for up to 20 hours per week in term time.

Silver Fern Visas

There are two types of Silver Fern Visa. The Silver Fern Job Search visa is a nine month open work visa, designed to bring skilled young people to New Zealand. Once these candidates have obtained skilled employment, they can apply for the two year Silver Fern Practical Experience visa. After that, it is likely they will be eligible to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category resident visa.

Work Visas for People Joining their Partner in New Zealand

If your prospective employee is the partner of a New Zealand citizen or resident, or the partner of a work visa holder, they could have an open work visa and be able to work for any employer.

Visa Options Diagram

To find out more on visa options for employing migrants please visit Immigration New Zealand