Visa to work in New Zealand

A work visa allows you to work in New Zealand. Work visas are also called Skilled Migration visa. Permanent or temporary categories are possible. Generally full-time employment is permitted. In some cases a skills assessment and/or licensing/registration is necessary.

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Overview of New Zealand visas permitting to work

There are several visa categories in New Zealand. The most common work visa categories are

  •     Skilled Migrant Category,
  •     Accredited Employer Work visa,
  •     Talent visa (Arts, Culture, Sports),
  •     Specific Purpose Work visa,
  •     Work visa in the Work to Residence Categories (closed for new visa applicants) and
  •     Essential Skills work visa (closed for new visa applicants).

You will find an overview on visas to work in New Zealand here:  Work in New Zealand

What is a Skilled Migrant Category visa?

A visa in the skilled migrant category gives the applicant permanent residency status in New Zealand.

A visa application for the Skilled Migrant Category requires the applicant to

  • pass a points test with 160 points or more,
  • pass an age test,
  • be able to speak English sufficently,
  • have a recognised or exempt qualification,
  • lodge an Expression of Interest

What is the Accredited Employer Work visa?

The Accredited Employer Work visa (AEWV) has been introduced by New Zealand Immigration in 2022.

With the introduction of the Accredited Employer Work Visa policy, a 3-check system was announced.

It is a three step process

  • Employer check: The employer must be accredited to hire a migrant as a worker from overseas. Employers can apply for standard accreditation and high-volume accreditation (for six or more workers on AEWVs)
  • Job check: This involves that the employer pays the market rate. A Labour Market Test is required.
  • Migrant check: The visa applicant must meet health and character requirements and have skills and experience in relation to the job check.


What is a work visa in the Work to Residence Category?

A work visa in the Work to Residence Category is usually valid for up to 2.5 years and may lead to a permanent visa.

Pathways include for instance:

  • Talent (Accredited Employers) and
  • Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL) .

This category is closed for new visa applicants.

What is a work visa in the Essential Skills Visa Category?

A visa in the Essential Skills Category is for any visa appliants who have been offered a job by a New Zealand based employer.

This category is closed for new visa applicants.


Are you ready to apply for your work visa in New Zealand?


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Visa to work in New Zealand
Updated: 2023-02-05
By: Migration Agent and Immigration Lawyer Association