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How to get a work visa for New Zealand?

Ieva Miltina Ieva Miltina 31 July 2021
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The homeland of the Lord of the Rings scenery and Maori culture is one of the most desired destinations for living, and not without reason. New Zealand is famous for its work/life balance, family-friendly features, and a vast choice of opportunities for lovers of the outdoors. It is no surprise that someone like you would look into the possibilities of obtaining a New Zealand work visa! After all, it is like a ticket to a pleasant and comfortable living within one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.

Knowing how many people try and fail at getting a positive outcome even after submitting all the documents required for New Zealand work visa, I decided to write an article to help with this. This country accepts a very limited number of foreign employees each year, and being prepared for the process might substantially increase your chances. It is why I will try to give the basic information on how to apply for New Zealand work visa alongside other tips for having a better chance at achieving your NZ dream. You will know how much a work visa is for New Zealand, and other technical details will save you some time. So let’s start with the basics.

What types of New Zealand work visa are there?

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If you wish to move to New Zealand for a job, then you might have already considered a particular position, or at least a profession you might go for. These are a few aspects that will help you choose from the many available options of visas that allow employment within New Zealand. Being sure what you aim for will save you time as well as unnecessary confusion about the requirements.

The most simple one is a Working Holiday visa for young people from selected countries. It might be considered a temporary work visa New Zealand for traveling youth. If you are 18-30 of age and a national from one of the countries on the list then you are eligible for it. While on this visa you are allowed to have short or long-term employment alongside traveling around the country for up to 12 months (23 months if you are from the UK or Canada). You can use this type of visa only once in your lifetime.

Other categories of temporary work visa New Zealand depend on the scope and field of your work. Some of the most popular categories are:

• Global impact work visa (36-month visa for entrepreneurs and investors admitted into the Edmund Hillary Fellowship), and after that - Global impact permanent residence visa

• Skilled migrant category resident visa (for skilled professionals under the age of 55, specialized in a field that can contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth)

• Talent (arts, culture, sports) work visa (30-month visa for exceptional talents with support from NZ organization)

• Crew joining a ship or plane visitor visa (for crew members intending to stay up to 28 days)

• New Zealand post study work visa (for recent NZ graduates of any field for employment that lasts up to 3 years. New Zealand post study work visa is available only once per finished study cycle).

All of these can be used as a stepping stone for a permanent residency, but that does not always mean you will be able to stay permanently as it depends on the circumstances greatly. The standard is that you have to have at least a 2 year work visa New Zealand. It has to be a long-term skilled shortage or talent type. And after this 2 year work visa New Zealand has granted is expired, you can apply for a residence visa. For other types, the conditions differ.

There is one more category you might consider if you want to be self-employed or work within your own business. It is the Entrepreneur resident visa. Just because this is not entirely the topic of the article, I will not tell much more about this one, but at least you are aware now of the available options. Now we can move on to understanding the details of the application process.

How to apply for New Zealand work visa?

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The most important principle you have to know before you apply for New Zealand work visa online is the usage of a points-based system to assess expressions of interest. In short, they are called EOIs and are an absolute must for everyone willing to get an employment-related visa.

EOI is a paper where you express your interest in moving to NZ. There you will tell about your previous work experiences, qualifications, and intended employment in New Zealand. This letter will be evaluated, and if you receive 160 points or more, you will be invited to apply for a visa.

Then you will have to submit your visa application. You can do it the classic way - in a paper in an embassy, but most people are suggested to use the easier way and fill an online form. If all of your documents are prepared ahead of, it takes up to 15 minutes to do it online. Your employer can help with filling it, but they can’t provide you with immigration advice. After you are done with the information part, you will pay the fee. This is the point where your patience might get tested because then you have to wait to receive the answer about your visa.

The processing time varies greatly on your application and the intended outcome. For some types, it might take anywhere from a few weeks up to 6 months to find out if your request was successful. This is why I always suggest making particular time-bound plans only after receiving the visa.

To be honest, even if you are not sure about the exact details of your application, I suggest checking the NZ Immigration website. It is very user-friendly and features not only detailed information about everything you need to know but also very helpful videos to make the process easier on first-time applicants.

What are New Zealand work visa requirements?

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There is quite a list of documents required for New Zealand work visa. Besides the EOI confirmation and the online form, you will need to collect some information about yourself, and especially the professional aspect of your life. In some cases, the required formalities are slightly different, but here I will give you a list of the most common papers you might need to submit during your application process. Here it is:

• A valid passport (3 months beyond your departure from NZ) and a photocopy of the main page

• Two photos

• Original or certified copy of a full birth certificate

• Police certificate (if you are 17 years of age or older)

• Proof of your good health (chest X-ray and a medical examination)

• Proof of English language proficiency (an internationally recognized test certificate or proof that you lived/studied in one of the English speaking countries for a sufficient length of time)

• Evidence of your qualifications and intended employment in NZ, as well as the previous work experience (according to the type of visa you wish to apply for)

You might be asked to hand in additional information or documents that support your claims about the nature of your professional career, but that should all be easy if you are truthful about everything in your application form.

How much is a work visa for New Zealand?

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The cost of New Zealand work visa depends greatly on the type you apply for. For example, the cost of New Zealand work visa for skilled migrants is about 530 USD. But the fee for international crew members is just about 150 USD. Check with the official information before applying to find out what is the exact amount that you will be expected to pay.

As you might have noticed, New Zealand is very selective about everyone that wishes to enjoy the bounty of their beautiful land. And that makes very much sense - who would want an overpopulated set of islands, right? Knowing their approach and requirements for immigrants is a good starting point for anyone willing to move there - for a job or any other reason. It allows you to be on the top of your game and get prepared for what’s to come. And this is exactly what I hope I have achieved here with all the information on New Zealand work visa requirements and tips on how to apply for New Zealand work visa online. I hope that all of this has been useful, and your application process will run smoothly! Best of luck on your path towards relocation!

* According to New Zealand officials, new work visa applications from several countries are currently suspended from particular countries due to Coronavirus risks. The situation is changing very frequently, but I dearly suggest checking if nationals from your country are even eligible to apply for such a visa. This might save you some time spent on unnecessary procedures. And always remember that in the current times it is smart to opt for a cost-free refundable option when making any paid reservations/bookings. Better safe than sorry, right?

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Ieva Miltina
Ieva Miltina Activist and entrepreneur

Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday. 

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