New Zealand work visa is divided into two general categories, temporary and permanent. People who have a permanent visa can apply for a work visa after a while. You must have a job offer before applying for a New Zealand work visa.

In the following sections, we will review all about the New Zealand work visa, including types, requirements, the application process, cost to be paid, and other details.

New Zealand Work Visa: Requirements

To be qualified for a New Zealand work visa, you must consider the following:

All About New Zealand Work Visa
  • A photograph, passport, or certified copy of it is required to obtain all New Zealand visas, including work visas.
  • Anyone who needs to apply for a New Zealand work visa must meet health and character requirements.
  • Most New Zealand work visa applicants, including the Skilled migrant category resident visa, must have an acceptable ability to speak and understand English. To prove this requirement, they must provide their language test results as part of their documents. The tests that are acceptable to the New Zealand government are:
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): General or Academic
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
  • Cambridge English B2 First (FCE)
  • B2 First for Schools (FCE for Schools)
  • Occupational English Test (OET)
  • Applicants for a New Zealand work visa need to provide proof of previous work experience. The documents you can provide are:
  • The type of your work
  • Date of work
  • The working hours you had per week
  • Previous employment contracts
  • How your work experience relates to what you will do in New Zealand
  • To be able to work in this country, you must first have a job offer. To do this, you must submit your employment contract. This contract must define the following:
  • Employer name and contact details
  • Applicant’s name
  • Job title
  • Work address
  • The type of work and responsibilities you will perform
  • Details of documents and work experiences
  • Working conditions and wages that must comply with New Zealand labor law
  • How long the job will be for
  • How long you must take up the job opportunity
  • You will need occupational registration to be able to obtain some New Zealand work visas. You can contact the registration authority to receive it.

New Zealand Work Visa: Application Process

The process of applying for a New Zealand work visa is not complicated.

  1. You must first select whether you want to submit your documents online or on paper.
  2. Then you have to prepare a certified copy or original documents according to the type of visa you want.
  3. To be eligible for most New Zealand visas, you must pay an immigration levy fee and visa application fee. For detailed information on the costs you have to pay, you should visit the New Zealand Immigration website to find out the exact amount of fees by entering your country’s name.
  4. If you intend to submit your documents online, you must create an account on the New Zealand Immigration website and submit your documents through this account. You can also follow your visa application status online. Requests submitted online are tracked and processed faster.
  5. To submit documents by paper submission, you can send your documents through the nearest visa application center.

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New Zealand Work Visa: Types

Temporary work visas

  • Essential Skills Work Visa: If you have a full-time job offer in New Zealand and have the experience and qualifications to do so, you can apply for this visa. This visa is valid for three years. Before hiring you, a New Zealand employer should consider whether there is a qualified domestic workforce for the job position. If this does not happen, he/she should try to attract foreign foreigners. Your partner and dependent child can also apply for a proper visa based on their relationship with you. This visa is not for self-employment. If you are planning to be self-employed, you must apply for an Entrepreneur Work Visa.
  • Working Holiday Visas: Young citizens of some countries between the ages of 18 and 30 can apply for this visa to enter New Zealand for a holiday. They are also allowed to have some jobs so that they can cover part of their travel expenses. Note that vacationing in New Zealand should be your first priority and work your next. This visa is valid for up to 12 months.

Permanent work visas

  • Long-term skill shortage list work visa: People who receive this visa can work in New Zealand. To obtain this visa, you must have sufficient work experience and qualifications and occupational registration to be able to have a job on the Long Term Skill Shortage List. If you can work under this job for two years, you can apply for residency. Your family members can apply for a suitable visa based on their relationship with you. This visa is valid for up to 30 months, and those who apply for this visa must be 55 years old or younger.
  • Long term skill shortage list resident visa: Those who have a Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa and have been employed in New Zealand for more than two years can apply for this residence visa. To be eligible for this visa, you must earn at least NZ $ 45,000 and have an ongoing job. You can include your dependent child (24 years and younger) and your partner in your visa application.
  • Religious worker resident visa: If you have a Religious Worker Work Visa, you can apply for a New Zealand residency. To be eligible for this visa, you must have a permanent job offer from a religious organization. This religious organization must be your sponsor for five years. You must be on a Religious Worker Work Visa for three years before applying for this visa. Applicants for this visa must be 55 years old or younger.
  • Skilled migrant category resident visa: People who have skills that can help New Zealand’s economic growth can apply for this visa. Applicants applying for this visa must first submit an Expression of Interest stating their employment in New Zealand, work experience, and qualifications. If their Expression of Interest is selected, they can come to New Zealand to work and live. There is an age limit for obtaining this visa. All people who want to apply for this visa must be 55 years old or younger.
  • Talent work visa (arts, culture, sports): People with unique talents in the arts, sports, or culture looking for a way to stay in New Zealand can apply for this visa. You should first look for a related organization in New Zealand that matches your talent. The initial validity of this visa is up to thirty months. You can then stay in this country indefinitely if your residence permit is approved. Those 55 or younger can apply for this visa. You cannot enter your family members on your visa application form, but you can do so on your residence application form.
  • Talent resident visa (arts, culture, sports): Holders of Talent work visas (arts, culture, sports) can apply for this visa, provided they have been working in New Zealand for more than two years in their talented field. You can get this visa if you continue to have outstanding achievements for New Zealand in your field of talent.
  • Talent work visa (accredited employer): If you have the skills needed by a New Zealand accredited employer, you can apply for a New Zealand residency. To do this, the employer must first offer a full-time job. You must then obtain a work visa and work in New Zealand for at least two years. After that, you can live in this country permanently. This visa is valid for up to 30 months and has an age limit (55 years or less). Note that you cannot include your family members in your visa application.
  • Talent resident visa (accredited employer): Those who work for an accredited employer in New Zealand for more than two years can apply for residency under this visa. You can also include the names of your family members in your visa application. If you changed your employer while on the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa, you should receive a variation of conditions.
  • New Zealand Singapore work Exchange program visa.
  • Entrepreneur work visa.

What is an essential skills work visa in New Zealand?

If you can get a full-time job offer from an employer in New Zealand, you can apply for this work visa. Essential Skills Work Visa is defined for this purpose. The visa holders can also bring their spouses and children to New Zealand. In the following, we will discuss the essential information about this visa, including the list of defined jobs, the application fee, the duration, and its renewal.

What is an Essential Skills Work Visa?

You can apply for this work visa if you can get a full-time job offer from an employer in New Zealand. Having this visa will give you many benefits. For example, you can take courses related to your employment. Furthermore, you can study for up to 3 months in any 12 month period. Your partner and children can also apply separately for a visa to accompany you.

The duration of this visa is determined by the level of skill required in the job you are offered. But the maximum validity of this visa is up to 5 years.

It should be noted that this visa is not appropriate for people who intend to be self-employed. These people must apply for another visa, called an  Entrepreneur Work Visa.

What are the requirements for this visa?

The Essential Skills Work Visa requirements are:

  • Passport: its validity must be at least three months after you intend to leave New Zealand. If you send a paper application, supply the original passport or a certified copy of it. The processing is faster if you provide the original passport. If you apply online, a copy of your passport must be uploaded.
  • Photo: one photo if you apply online, or two photos if you submit your documents on paper.
  • Certificate identity
  • Character: You must provide police certificates as proof of your good character.
  • Health: To prove your health, you must provide a chest x-ray and a medical examination.
  • Genuine intentions: you must prove that:
    • You intend to stay in New Zealand temporarily.
    • You will be entering the country for legal purposes.
    • After arrival in this country, you will be subject to its rules.
  • Job offer: You must have a full-time job offer in New Zealand. To prove your job offer, you must provide an employment agreement. This agreement must include the following:
  1. Employer name and contact details
  2. Applicant’s name
  3. Job title
  4. Work address
  5. The type of work and responsibilities you will perform
  6. Details of documents and work experiences
  7. Working conditions and wages that must comply with New Zealand labor law
  8. how long the job will be for
  9. how long you must take up the job opportunity
  •  Essential Skills Work Visa forms: The New Zealand employer must prove that it has not found an appropriate domestic workforce in New Zealand. Your employer must complete an Employer Supplementary Form. In this form, the type of work you are going to do will be explained.  The employer must show his effort to attract domestic labor:
    • Recruitment ads on websites and newspapers
    • Collaboration with a recruitment company
    • The employer must a Skills Match Report if the work is in low-skilled employment
    • The results of their efforts
  • Qualification and experience: you must have the required documents and experience listed in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). To get more information, you need to go to the Australian Bureau of Statics Website. You must provide the following documents:
    • Original or certified copy of qualifications
    • Evidence that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority recognizes your degree
  • The following must be provided about your previous work experience:
    • The date you did the job
    • The number of working hours per week
    • Contract details for your employer
    • How your past work experience relates to the new job offered in New Zealand
  • Occupational registration

How to apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa?

There are two ways to apply for this visa:

1. Online application:

The applications can be submitted online. Sending online can speed up the processing process. To submit an online application, you must visit the official website of the New Zealand government and create an account. Then send the documents along with your photo. You can pay your application fee by a credit card.

Once you send your application for the Essential Skills Work Visa, you will no longer need to follow up. The New Zealand government will review your documents, and you will be contacted if necessary.

You need to login by your RealMe® account to follow your request. If the status of your application is “Submitted,” it means that it is ready for processing.

2. Paper application:

If you cannot apply online, you must submit your documents to the nearest New Zealand Immigration Office or Visa Application Center.

The following will be considered when processing the documents:

  • The applicant can meet the requirements set out in the New Zealand Immigration Instruction.
  •  Whether he/she is a genuine applicant
  • The details of the documents indicating the kinship will be examined if the applicant has a relative or family member in New Zealand.

How much does it cost to apply for an essential skills work visa?

The application process is done online or paper submission. The application fee for paper submission is 318$NZ, while the online application will cost around 298$NZ.

How long does it take to assess documents and issue a work visa?

If you apply your application on paper, the processing time will be around 25 working days. But if the application is submitted online, the processing time will be about 20 working days.

How long can you stay under this visa?

Essential Skills Work Visa duration depends on your situation. The following factors are effective in determining the length of the visa duration:

  • The employment’s skill-band
  • The duration of time the job has been offered to you
  • Whether the employer is an accredited labor hire company

(The company, which has New Zealand immigration approval to hire foreign workers to compensate for the shortage of labor to third- parties)

If your employment contract is less than the period defined in the visa, then the duration of the visa is specified based on the length of the employment contract.

Skill-bands are defined for Essential Skills Work Visa: lower-skilled, mild-skilled, and higher-skilled. Based on the skill-band, the New Zealand government will determine:

  •  How long your visa is given for
  •  Whether you can apply visas for your family members
  •  The maximum time you can have this visa

If you have a job offer and want to apply for this visa, your Skill-band will be determined based on the following factors:

  • The pay rate
  • The skill level of the ANZSCO occupation

You can find your ANZSCO skill level on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website. Skill-band, length of your visa and salary based on the ANZSCO skill level and remuneration of your job are provided in the following table:

The maximum length of visaSalaryANZSCO skill levelSkill band
Five years$38.25 per hour or higherAnyHigher
Three years$21.68 – $38.24 per hour1,2, or 3Mild
12 months (maximum total residency of 36 months)Less than $38.25 per hour4 or 5Lower
12 months (maximum total residency of 36 months)Less than $21.68 per hourAnyLower

This information applies to those who have applied since February 24, 2020.

You will obtain an Essential Skills Work Visa with a three-year validity if you are in lower-skilled and work for an accredited labor-hire company. After this period, you either must increase your skills and change your visa or leave New Zealand.

How can a work visa holder improve their skills?

As long as you meet your visa conditions, you can improve your skills. If your visa requirements are such that you are allowed to do a particular job, you cannot change your career. While you hold your work visa, you can take a training program as part of your employment. You can also do more skilled work during your employment. If you are doing many higher-skilled tasks, you will need to change your visa conditions or visa.

What should be considered after receiving an Essential Skills Work Visa?

    • Entry permission: You must obtain entry permission when you arrive in New Zealand.
    • Travel: You must have multiple entry travel conditions to return to New Zealand if you intend to travel in or out of New Zealand.
    • Work: You will only be allowed to work in a specific job with a particular employer and a determined location. You must provide proof of payment of wages if requested by an immigration officer.
    • Study: You can enroll in training courses by your employer as part of your employment.

How to renew an Essential Skills Work Visa?

If you intend to stay in New Zealand for a more extended period, you must pursue the process of  Essential Skills Work Visa renewal. If your job is mid or higher-skilled, there is no restriction in terms of the number of Essential Skills Work Visas you apply. If you have applied for a work visa in lower-skilled employment for three years, you must stay outside New Zealand for 12 consecutive months to obtain another visa for lower-skilled jobs. A 12-month period that must be spent outside of New Zealand is called a ‘stand-down period.’  You are not permitted to apply for this visa for lower-skilled work if you are subject to the stand-down period. But you can still obtain a different visa or this visa for mild- or higher-skilled work.

Can I bring my dependents to New Zealand?

In general, work visa holders can apply for the following visas for their family members:

  • Open-work visa for the partner
  • Visitor visa for the partner and children
  • Student visa for the children

The visas you receive for your child or partner will expire at the same time as your work visa.

Can a holder of essential skills work visa receive a residence permit in New Zealand?

Yes, in some cases, it is possible.  If residency is your ultimate goal, you can consult with immigration counselors to boost your residency chances.

Let ‘s sum up

This blog answers the most frequently asked questions about the Essential Skills Work Visa: fees, visa duration, and changes. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other New Zealand visas as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.


What is my first move to get a New Zealand work visa?

You must get a job offer from an employer or company inside the country. 

Will it be hard for me to get a work visa in New Zealand?

You can say yes due to limited spots or tight deadlines for application..

How much is required to live after getting a work visa?

You need about NZ$350 a month or NZ$4200 for 12 months. 

If I get the job offer, will the GOVT grant a work visa?

Yes, but work hard to get the job offer and start your application.

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  1. Rija Jacob says:

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