Familiarise yourself with the visa options

There are a number of different visa categories for people wanting to come to New Zealand.

Here is a summary of the main visa types.

Visitor visas

All visitors to New Zealand have a Visitor Visa. Holders of Visitor Visas are not permitted to work in New Zealand.

Open work visas

Some visas allow migrants to work for any employer. Common types include:

  • Working Holiday Scheme - holders can work full-time, but cannot take up a permanent role. Some countries have stricter restrictions
  • Student visa - holders may usually work for a maximum of 20 hours each week, though some may work full time during major holiday breaks
  • Partnership visas - partners of visa holders with work rights, may be eligible to work for the duration of their partner’s visa (or for up to two years for partners of resident visa holders or New Zealand citizens)
  • Post Study work visa - open visa - allows former international students to work for any employer for 12 months to give them time to find a job relevant to their qualification

Employer supported work visas

These visas are tied to specific jobs and have a set duration. Common types include Work to Residence visas, Essential Skills Work Visa, Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa, Specific Purpose Work Visa, and Post Study Work Visa - Employer Assisted. To remain in New Zealand, the visa holder must apply for a new visa before their current visa expires. 

Residence visas

Residence visa holders are able to work for any New Zealand employer. Common types of residence visa include the Skilled Migrant, Investor, Family and Pacific Quota categories.


Now that you know the basics, explore these pages to learn more about hiring migrants:

Explore immigration options

Finding and hiring workers overseas