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New Zealand Visas

Visas and Residency options

There are many different types of New Zealand visas available for immigration purposes, but knowing which one is needed to emigrate can be a confusing process. We take a look at the country’s most commonly used visas.

Skilled Migrant Category

New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Category offers applicants a permanent visa which allows a person to live and work anywhere in New Zealand. The Skilled Migration Programme is open to anyone with relevant experience who meets the pass mark for the migration points test.

You will need to register an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the NZ Government before completing your application. This EOI is based on a points test, and only applicants scoring at least 100 points can be considered.

In order to apply for a New Zealand Skilled visa you must meet the following criteria:

- You must be aged between 18 and 55 at the time you apply for the visa;
- You will need previous work experience in a nominated occupation – the occupation needs to be approved by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). (In some instances a job offer may also be required); and
- You will need to hold qualifications (either tertiary or trade) or have had an apprenticeship in the nominated occupation.

You can apply for a visa only once your EOI has been selected by INZ. Applications accumulating the higher points totals, or those which feature skills in an occupation deemed in high demand, will be selected first.

Work visas

New Zealand’s work visas are available to those looking to work in New Zealand temporarily, perhaps with half an eye on becoming a permanent resident at a later date.

The country offers a wide range of different visa options depending on what you are looking for. 

Below are just some of the options that might be available to you:

Work to Residence

This visa is available to people who have exceptional talents within certain fields – approved by INZ – and have a job offer from an accredited New Zealand employer. After a period of employment they may become eligible to apply for permanent residency.

The visa allows you to work temporarily in New Zealand initially for up to 30 months, and in due course apply for residence from work. This is a non-points based system.

Essential Skills Work visa

If you have an offer of a job from a New Zealand employer, you may be eligible to apply for a temporary essential skills visa to enable you to take up that employment. This visa comes in the form of an endorsement in your passport that entitles you to undertake paid employment while you are in New Zealand. You must be of an acceptable standard of Health and Character, and satisfy an Immigration Officer that you genuinely intend a temporary stay in New Zealand to work. You may then apply for a temporary work visa either from the UK if you have an offer of employment or from within New Zealand if you get a job offer after arriving there.

Working Holiday Visa

The young person’s Working Holiday Scheme allows young adults to experience life in New Zealand whilst being able to take up employment during your stay.

To apply for this visa from the UK you will need:

- A British passport that’s valid for at least three months after your planned date of departure;
- To be aged between 18 and 30;
- To prove the main purpose of your visit is to holiday, with work being a secondary intention.
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Family visas

If you have family living as permanent residents in New Zealand, or are in a long-term relationship with a New Zealander, then one of the following visas could be your passport to a new life in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Parent visa

As the name of the category suggests, this stream is aimed at parents wishing to join their children in New Zealand. Applicants must express their interest in applying for New Zealand residence, and dependent on the requirements that they claim to meet, may subsequently be invited to apply. They must no longer have any dependent children, and one of their adult children must have been permanently resident in NZ for at least three years and be willing to sponsor them. Applicants are required to demonstrate either a guaranteed lifetime income, funds of their own, or the sponsor will be asked to demonstrate they meet a minimum income level. Applying for this visa can be an extremely long process.

Parent Retirement Category

If people who meet the criteria for the Parent Category want to have their application expedited then they may wish to apply through the Parent Retirement Category. However, you will need deep pockets. Applicants must be able to invest a minimum of NZD 1 million in New Zealand over four years and have an annual income of at least NZD 60,000 at the time they apply, and settlement funds of at least NZD 500,000.
Partner visas

The New Zealand Family Partner Visa is open to de-facto, civil partnerships and married couples who are in stable, committed and genuine relationships with a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
Applicants for this visa will need to be aged over 18, and be able to prove that they have been in a committed relationship with their qualifying New Zealander partner for at least two years prior to applying. Such commitment could be that they have lived together for a specified period of time, or include evidence of a joint financial status.
Visa requirements change regularly and it’s important to stay on top of the changes.
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