Frequently Asked Questions: New Zealand Visas

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Which visa should I apply for?

The New Zealand visa that is right for you depends on your personal situation, what you want to do in New Zealand (visit, work, study) and how long you want to go for. At Relocate Down Under we can help determine the best option for you and your family, both for your immediate needs and any long-term goals you have.

As a first step, complete our free eligibility assessment and we will determine the best visa for your situation.

Who can apply for a Partner of a New Zealander Visa?

If you are the partner of a New Zealand citizen or resident and you are living together in a genuine and stable relationship, you may be eligible for a New Zealand Partnership Temporary or Resident Visa.

Depending on how long you have been living together and what you wish to do in New Zealand, you may be able to apply for a Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa, a Partner of a New Zealander Visitor Visa. a Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa or even a Partner of a New Zealander Permanent Resident Visa.

Take our free New Zealand Partnership Eligibility Assessment to find out if you’re eligible.

Do I need a job offer to get a work visa?

The short answer is yes – if you are applying for an Accredited Employer Work Visa you will need to have an acceptable job offer in order to get your visa. This will need to be from an Accredited Employer who has had a Job Check application approved. You will also need to have a job offer of skilled employment from an Accredited Employer to apply for a Skilled Migrant Resident Visa, Work to Residence or Straight to Residence Visa.

Although most job advertisements will specify that you must have a valid work visa or the right to work in New Zealand to apply, it is absolutely fine (and also legal) for you to apply for a job first and then submit your application for your visa, once you have been offered the job. You obviously cannot start work until you have a valid work visa approved by Immigration New Zealand, though.

This is where we come in. As a client of Relocate Down Under we will help you on your search for employment by advising which types of roles you need to apply for to be granted a visa and checking that your job offer meets the New Zealand Immigration requirements. We will also make sure that you have all the necessary documents ready for when you receive your job offer, so that your new employer does not have to wait any longer than necessary for you to start work. Any potential employer will have the reassurance that, since you are working with a Licensed Immigration Adviser, your application for a visa should go as smoothly as possible.

What is an Accredited Employer Work Visa?

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is now the main Work Visa for New Zealand.

In order to be eligible to apply for an Accredited Employer Work Visa you need:

  • an offer of employment with an Accredited Employer who has had a Job Check approved
  • your offer of employment will need to be full time, paid at the market rate and at or above the New Zealand median wage (which has been held at NZ$29.66 per hour for AEWVs).
  • Unless your occupation is on the New Zealand Green List or pays at least twice the median wage, your employer will need to prove that they weren’t able to find a suitable and available New Zealand candidate for the role you have been offered.
  • You will need to be suitably qualified for the role through either a recognised qualification or a specified number of years of relevant work experience, and have an acceptable standard of health and character.
  • In addition, if your role is classified as Skill Level 4 or 5, you will also need to meet a minimum standard of English.

How long will my AEWV be granted for?

You can currently be granted an Accredited Employer Work Visa for up to 5 years for Skill Level 1-3 roles.

For Skill Level 4 and 5 roles, you can be granted an Accredited Employer Work Visa for up to 2 years (with a maximum continuous stay of 3 years).

If your role is on the Green List or pays at least 1.5 times the median wage, currently NZ$47.41 per hour, your AEWV can be granted for up to 5 years (regardless of your Skill Level).

If your role is exempt from the median wage threshold (and you earn less than the median wage), the length of time you can hold an Accredited Employer Work Visa for varies depending on your role.

Can I bring my family with me if I apply for an Accredited Employer Work Visa?

Partners of workers (who have been living together in a genuine and stable relationship for 12+ months) can apply for a temporary work visa on the basis of their relationship with the work visa holder, as long as the work visa holder will be paid at or above the median wage (at least $29.66 per hour).

Most partners will be granted a Partner Work Visa with conditions that mean that they will also need to work for an Accredited Employer and be paid at least the median wage (or the wage threshold, if the role is covered by an un-capped sector agreement). A job offer will not be required to be granted this visa, however, and they will be able to change employers without contacting INZ.

Only partners of workers in a role on the Green List or earning twice the median wage will be eligible to apply for an open temporary work visa without these conditions. 

Dependent children can apply for a Dependent Child Student or Visitor Visa if their parent(s) will be earning at least NZ$43,322.76 per annum. 

What is a Straight to Residence Visa?

The Green List identifies a number of Tier 1 roles that are eligible for a Straight to Residence Visa, which you can apply for either from within New Zealand or from overseas. Minimum salary and registration requirements will apply for some jobs. You must be paid at least the New Zealand median wage of NZ$ 31.61 per hour to apply. 

The roles that are eligible for the fast-track to residence on the Green List, fall under the following sectors:

  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Health and social services
  • Primary industry and science
  • ICT, electronics and telecommunications

What is a Work to Residence Visa?

The Green List also identifies a number of Tier 2 roles that are eligible for work to residence. If you are working in one of these occupations, and are eligible, you can apply for residence after working in New Zealand for 2 years. 

In addition, the Care Workforce sector has a Work to Residence pathway. And eligible applicants will be able to apply for residence after working for two years in New Zealand in certain roles within this industry. 

Will I be eligible for a Skilled Migrant Resident Visa?

The Skilled Migrant Resident Visa is a points system where you must claim 6 points to be eligible. 

In order to apply for the new Skilled Migrant Resident Visa, applicants will need to meet one of the following:

  • Occupational registration (where an occupation has a regulated registration, licensing, or certification scheme in NZ and full registration requires at least 2 years of formal training or experience)
  • A Bachelor’s degree or higher level qualification, or
  • A skilled job earning at least 1.5 x median wage in New Zealand

If you do not have enough points through one of these skill pathways, you will need to supplement your points through accruing skilled work experience in New Zealand. Most applicants will be required to spend some time working in New Zealand to gain enough points to apply. 

In addition, all applicants will need an eligible offer of skilled, full time employment with an Accredited Employer, and they will also need to meet health, character and English Language requirements.

You also need to be suitably qualified for the role, through either meeting the qualification requirements set out in ANSZCO, a specified number of years’ relevant work experience (5 years for Skill Level 1, 3 years for Skill Levels 2 or 3), or through obtaining occupational registration (relevant for specific roles).

And you must be paid at least:

  • the median wage (NZD $31.61 per hour) for occupations classified at ANZSCO skill level 1-3, or
  • 1.5 times the median wage (NZD $47.41 per hour) for occupations classified at ANZSCO skill level 4-5.

The fastest way of understanding if you could be eligible for this visa category is to take our free eligibility assessment. A Licensed Immigration Adviser will review your situation and be able to advise whether you have enough points to be invited to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa.

If I apply for a Resident Visa, can my family come with me?

Yes, you can include your partner and dependent children in your Skilled Migrant, Straight to Residence and Work to Residence Visa applications. When your New Zealand visas are approved, you will all be granted residence, enabling your partner and dependent children to work and study in New Zealand too.

What is the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment?

The “List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment” is a list which compares overseas qualifications to comparable New Zealand qualifications. If your qualification appears on this list, you do not need to pay for an International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) through the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) for your resident visa application, which can be both time consuming and costly.

The list will be updated in two phases. Phase 1 is now live and covers the following countries and territories:

  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • South Africa
  • United States of America
  • Hong Kong
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines

The updated list will be used for qualifications submitted for the following applications:

  • Green List Straight to Residence Visas
  • Green List and Sector Work to Residence Visas
  • Accredited Employer Work Visas
  • New Skilled Migrant Resident Visas

You are able to claim 3-6 points in the new Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) for a recognised qualification at a bachelor degree level or higher.

More qualifications from additional countries and territories will be added in future phrases.

How long will it take for my application to be approved?

The time it takes for Immigration New Zealand to process a visa varies considerably depending on the visa type. It will also depend on whether Immigration New Zealand need to request any additional information.

Working with us, we will also ensure that your application is as complete as possible at the point it is submitted, which will help your visa to be processed quicker.

If you are applying for a Resident Visa with long processing times, we can also apply for temporary visas on your behalf, whilst you wait for a Resident Visa to be approved, enabling you to start your New Zealand dream sooner.

What do your fees cover?

Our fees cover all the work that Relocate Down Under will carry out on your behalf with regards to your visa application and/or immigration matter. This includes the cost of phone calls, photocopying and other office related tasks.

With our end to end visa packages you will get:

  • a dedicated UK-based licensed immigration adviser
  • an Eligibility Assessment and Document Check List – your personalised roadmap to get a visa
  • your documents checked thoroughly to ensure they meet NZ immigration instructions
  • your visa application form and cover letter prepared and submitted for you
  • liaison with Immigration New Zealand on your behalf throughout the process

Any other costs, such as the Immigration New Zealand application fees, obtaining a medical or police certificate, getting documents certified, getting your qualifications assessed, English language tests, using an interpreter and courier fees, are paid directly to the relevant supplier by you.

Why should I use Relocate Down Under?

Deciding to move to New Zealand is a big decision, which takes up time and effort and can be very emotional. Many New Zealand visa applications get declined not because the applicant isn’t eligible, but because they’ve misunderstood a key requirement or missed out an important element in their application. A visa application with mistakes can be time-consuming, incur extra costs and even prevent you from immigrating. It can also be very stressful, especially if you have a new employer waiting for you to start work.

At Relocate Down Under we take away that stress from you. We focus on making sure your application is as complete as possible and complies with the latest immigration instructions, to make the process as smooth as possible for you. 

Being based in the UK means that we are available to speak at a time that is convenient to you. And having the expertise of a New Zealand Licensed Immigration Adviser to support you every step of the way, can give you peace of mind.

We’ve been through the process ourselves, so understand how it feels from both sides. Which is why we make it our priority to give you the best possible experience as you set off on your New Zealand dream. Your dream is our priority.

What is a licensed immigration adviser?

Under New Zealand law, only Licensed Immigration Advisers are permitted to provide advice on New Zealand visas. By engaging the services of the Licensed Immigration Advisers at Relocate Down Under, you are ensuring the advice you receive complies with New Zealand Immigration Law. As Licensed Immigration Advisers, we will generally hear about changes to immigration policy before it becomes common knowledge.

You are able to see our New Zealand immigration adviser’s licence on the IAA website


If you want to find out more about how we can help you, feel free to contact us.

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