Learn how to apply for New Zealand work visa to live or work in the city as a foreigner.
If you’re planning to work in New Zealand and you’re not a citizen or permanent resident of NZ or Australia, you’ll need a visa that lets you work.
Who needs a visa
- You can apply for a visa to work here temporarily if you:
- have a job offer from a New Zealand employer
- are coming for a specific work-related purpose or event
- have a partner here, and you want to join them and work
- are from a country that has an exceptional work scheme, or
- have been studying here and won’t work here.
Some work visas can also lead to residence — that is, the right to live, study and work here indefinitely. To apply you need to have the skills, experience, and qualifications that are required by the New Zealand workforce.
Choosing the right visa
There are more than 80 visas that let you work in New Zealand. Before you apply, decide which visa is right for you.
Find out how much it costs to apply, where to send your application or your passport, and how long it will take to get your visa.
Before you apply
You need to gather information about yourself and your plans for your time in New Zealand. What you need to provide depends on the visa you apply for. For all visas, you need to provide proof of your identity and good character. You may also need to provide information about your health.
Proving your identity and good character
You have to provide a photo, passport, and other identity information.
Depending on the visa you’re applying for and how long you intend to stay in New Zealand, you must provide police certificates from countries you’ve lived in for more than 5 years since you turned 17. These help to prove that you’re of good character.
Getting medical certificates
Depending on how long you’re staying here and where you’re from, you may have to provide medical certificates or get a chest X-ray from a doctor approved by Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
- Find a radiologist or doctor near you
- Healthcare if you’re on a work visa
- Translations of documents into English
If you have to provide police or medical certificates and they’re not in English, you need to provide certified translations. INZ can also ask you to provide translations of any other documents that are not in English.
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English translations must be done by:
- the translation service of New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA)
- an embassy or high commission, or
- a private or official translation business.
Translations cannot be done by:
- you — that is, the person applying for the visa
- a member of your family
- an immigration adviser helping with your application.
How to apply
You can apply online for most work visas. There are a few visas that you need to fill in a printed application form for, including some country-specific work visas.
For most work visas, you need to set up a New Zealand Government RealMe account before you start your application.
What is RealMe?
You do not need a RealMe account if you’re applying for:
- a working holiday visa, or
- a Silver Fern Job Search Visa.
Before you start your online application, have all your supporting documents ready to upload.
Getting a tax number
Once you have your visa, apply for an IRD number from Inland Revenue. You give this number to your employer when you start work and use it for all your New Zealand tax matters.
Essential Skills Work Visa
If you have been offered a full-time job, and you have the necessary qualifications and experience to work in that job, you can apply for a temporary visa to work in New Zealand. Unless you are staying with the same employer and in the same role and region, your employer must have checked if any New Zealanders were available to do the work, before offering you the job. If you are granted this visa, you may be able to support visa applications for your partner and dependent children.
Overview Length of stay
Up to 3 years
With this visa, you can
Work in New Zealand for an employer who has offered you a full-time job.
Study for up to 3 months in any 12-month period, or do any study required as part of your employment
Things to note
- You can stay up to 3 years depending on the pay rate of the job you are offered.
How long you can stay
- Changes have been made to Essential
- Skills visas to streamline application processing and increase visa duration.
Essential Skills Work Visa changes
- This visa will close to applications on July 2023, and be replaced by the Accredited Employer Work Visa from July 2023.
- Your employer may need to try to recruit any suitable New Zealanders who are available to do the work before offering you the job.
- Your partner or dependent children may be able to apply separately for visas based on their relationship with you.