If you’re a skilled migrant applying for a New Zealand work visa, you may feel like the process is a job in itself. Navigating all of the visa requirements, conditions, documentation, evidence, categories, and costs can seem a daunting task.
We’ve made this checklist for you as an overview of the process of applying for a skilled migrant visa. However, we recommend you seek assistance from a licensed immigration practitioner when preparing your visa application form.
You can apply for a temporary working visa in New Zealand if you:
- have a job offer from a New Zealand employer
- are coming for a specific work-related purpose or event
- have a partner already in New Zealand, and you want to join them and work
- want to get on a working holiday (if you’re between 18 and 30), or
- have completed higher level qualifications in New Zealand and want to work.
Visas that lead to permanent residence include the accredited employer, long-term skill shortage, entrepreneur work, Pacific access category, and religious worker visas. All visas are available for people who are 55 years old or younger.
If you want to apply for a work visa you will have to provide either evidence of a current full-time job or a job offer and be registered if your profession demands it. You can do this here.
Before you apply
- Make sure your job meets the minimum wage and salary threshold. These thresholds were changed in November 2018, so make sure you check our comprehensive list of the changes here.
- Check the ANZSCO code and skill level of the job; and check if the job is on a shortage list.
- Gather the employer’s documentation including the fully signed contract, you may also need the employer to show evidence that the job was advertised to the local market and could not be filled by an adequate candidate depending on whether Shortage List requirements are met.
- Have proof of your identity (with a valid passport and a photo of a yourself taken within the last six months) and good character (with police certificates from countries you’ve lived in for more than five years since you turned 17). You may also need to provide information about your health, by getting medical certificates or a chest x-ray from a doctor approved by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). All documents not in English, should be translated to English by a professional translator. An immigration adviser and/or immigration lawyer can help you navigate the process. If you are not sure who to ask, read our article Immigration adviser vs immigration lawyer – whose help do you need?
- Set up a New Zealand Government RealMe account to upload your digital documents for the online application.
Submitting the visa application
- Give your application the best chance of success by getting it checked by a licensed practitioner. Our 90-minute clinic (with immigration lawyer Aaron Martin) is the best way to ensure your New Zealand work visa application is approved.
- Submit your paper resident application within six months on the form provided by INZ. Fees and processing times will depend on your location and nationality. You can send your application by post or courier.
- If necessary, INZ may ask you for more information to grant you a fair chance to obtain your New Zealand work visa. INZ will let you know about your visa status as soon as it’s decided.
After getting the visa
- Once you have your work visa, apply for a tax record number, which you can do through the IRD. You’ll have to give this number to your employer once you have it and use it for all your tax matters.
- Be aware of your rights as an employee. Check out our article for all you need to know about migrant worker rights in New Zealand.
Once you have all of the above sorted, you will be well on your way to living and working as a skilled migrant in New Zealand.
The application process for a skilled migrant work visa is very expensive. To ensure the best chance of success we recommend you seek professional advice. Our 90-minute Immigration Clinic appointment is an excellent resource that is designed to help make sure you have all you need to succeed in your application. With over 22 years of experience as an immigration lawyer, Aaron can quickly check your application and let you know if you meet the requirements and have all the appropriate documentation. This can save you thousands of dollars.
Find out more about our 90-minute Immigration Clinic here.
If you’d like help with your skilled migrant visa application, or have any other queries, you can contact the office here.