Work Visas

Work Visas for New Zealand

Wondering if you will be able to work in New Zealand? Here’s what you need to know about NZ work visas. 

Accredited Employer Work Visa

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is now the main Work Visa in New Zealand (replacing the Essential Skills Work Visa).

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

  • a job offer with an Accredited Employer who has had a Job Check approved
  • your job offer will need to be full time, paid at the market rate and above the New Zealand median wage (which is currently NZ$29.66 per hour).
  • your employer will need to prove that they weren’t able to find a suitable New Zealand candidate for the role you have been offered (unless your occupation is on the New Zealand Green List or pays at least twice the median wage)
  • and you will need to be suitably qualified for the role, have an acceptable standard of health, and meet character requirements.


You can currently be granted an Accredited Employer Work Visa for up to 3 years. However, this will be increasing to up to 5 years from November 2023. 

Bringing your family with you

If you have a partner or dependent child moving with you, they can apply for a relevant visa (e.g. work visas, student visas or visitor visas) based on their relationship with you.

Most partners of an AEWV holder will be granted a Partner Work Visa with conditions. This means they will also be able to work in New Zealand but will 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). However, the partner won’t need to have a job offer to get this visa, and they will be able to change employers without contacting INZ.

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. 

Pathways to residence from an Accredited Employer Work Visa

There are a number of Skilled Residence Pathways for holders of Accredited Employer Work Visas. 

The Skilled Migrant Category is a points system, where you need to claim 6 points to be eligible. 

If your role is on the Green List, there are two possible pathways:

  • Tier 1 “Straight to Residence
  • Tier 2 “Work to Residence” where you will be able to apply for residence after working in New Zealand for two years, if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Sector Agreements also offer a Work to Residence pathway for those working in the Care Workforce and Transport Sectors. And eligible applicants will be able to apply for residence after working for two years in New Zealand in certain roles within these industries. 

Roles exempt from the Accredited Employer Work Visa median wage threshold

Immigration New Zealand have provided a list of specific jobs that are exempt from meeting the median wage threshold, and have their own, slightly lower threshold:

  • Specific jobs in the construction & infrastructure sector and seasonal snow and adventure tourism sector must be paid at least NZD $26.69 per hour
  • Specific jobs in the care workforce sector must be paid at least the Level 3 pay rate in the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Act 2017 (currently NZD $26.16 per hour)
  • Specific jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector must be paid at least NZD $25 per hour 


If your role is exempt from the median wage threshold, you can hold an Accredited Employer Work Visa for 2 years. After this, you must complete a stand-down period of 12 consecutive months outside New Zealand, before you can get another Accredited Employer Work Visa for 2 years. However, if you get another visa for a job paying above the median wage, you won’t have to complete a stand-down period.

Find out if your role is exempt from the median wage threshold.

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