Apply for approval in principle

You must meet the criteria and provide all of the supporting evidence to be granted approval in principle. Once you’ve collected your evidence, see the next steps below to find out how to apply.

What you need to do

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Skill shortage list

The jobs you’re recruiting for must not be on an Essential Skills in Demand List

If the job you’re recruiting for is on one of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists you don't need approval in principle. The people you recruit for those roles can apply for visas once you’ve offered them work but must meet the skills or work experience specified by the lists. If your potential employees do not have the skills or experience required, then you may request an approval in principle so that the labour market can be tested.

Check to see if the job is not on one of our lists

Business details

You must provide details of your business

You will need to provide evidence of the following:

  • certificate of incorporation
  • GST number if registered for GST
  • details of any employees currently on a temporary entry class visa.

Ability to sustain employment

You must be able to show you can sustain the positions

Provide statements of financial performance and position, including a breakdown of sales, wages, expenses and net profit/loss.

If you’re GST registered you can also include GST returns.

Work requirements

Your job offer must meet minimum employment rights and obligations

We need to see evidence of:

  • a Job offer that details the type of work, duties and responsibilities, the pay, working hours, qualifications and experience required. Include work conditions like accommodation, transportation or deductions required
  • an Employment agreement for the roles included in the request.

To meet the labour market test, the requirements or specifications in the job description must only include those things necessary to perform the work.

Job terms and conditions

Your job offer must meet certain terms and conditions

As evidence, you may need to provide the following:

  • ANZSCO job title and skill level, if known
  • evidence that your job offer meets the New Zealand market rates for pay and conditions of this role
  • information about any arrangements in place to assist migrants’ settlement in New Zealand.

To meet the labour market test the terms and conditions of the job must not be less than those of the New Zealand market.

Visa duration

Your job offer must be for the duration of the visa (1 – 5 years)

The ANZSCO skill level and pay rate of your job will determine the duration of the work visa a migrant can apply for.

For jobs assessed as lower skilled work visas can normally be issued for no more than 1 year at a time. Jobs assessed as higher skilled can have work visas issued for up to 5 years.

How long a Essential Skills Work visa holder can stay here

Employment Skill-bands

Jobs must be full-time for at least 30 hours per week.

Visas for skill jobs assessed as lower skilled may be issued for up to 3 years where the employer is an accredited labour hire company.

Direct employer

You must be the direct employer, usually responsible for supervising your workers and paying their wages

A direct employer is usually responsible for such things as:

  • payment of salaries
  • PAYE tax instalments
  • conditions of employment
  • day-to-day supervision of the workplace and the employee.

It is expected that in most cases a direct employer would be responsible for all these aspects of the employment relationship.

Labour market test

You must show that there are no New Zealand citizens available or readily able to be trained to do the work

You must show that you’ve made genuine attempts to recruit or train suitable New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders. Evidence can include:

  • details of advertising, including dates, duration and frequency
  • copies of any advertising and receipts for payment of the advertising
  • any evidence you used a recruitment agency
  • full details of the outcome of your recruitment efforts, including the number of applicants, shortlisting outcome and details of why any New Zealand applicants were unsuitable, or unable to be trained
  • any industry statistics on the numbers of vacancies in this market or other industry-based evidence
  • details of the type of training that you've provided and the outcome of the training
  • details of your future plans for training and upskilling New Zealanders to do the work


You should also provide evidence that you’ve contacted any relevant industry organisation or union. Include a copy of any comments received from the industry organisation or union, including details about the availability of New Zealanders, the need for foreign labour in the market and comments on the terms and conditions of your job offer.

If you’re recruiting in Canterbury and have a letter from the Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub that remains valid, you should provide this with your request.

Listing your vacancy with Work and Income will speed up the processing of your request. Work and Income has a dedicated employer line (0800 778 008) or you can visit their website. You should tell Work and Income you are engaging with them as part of an Immigration New Zealand approval in principle request.

Work and Income

Genuine attempt to recruit

Your job advertisement and offer can’t discourage New Zealand workers from applying

We can’t approve your application if your job advertisement discourages New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders, from applying. This includes where New Zealand workers aren’t willing to take up the job because of the terms and conditions of your job offer (such as pay or hours of work).

How to apply

Immigration costs

Application cost

NZD ($) $ 440

You must be a New Zealand employer in New Zealand to apply.



within 5 months

90% of applications are currently completed within this time. Timeframes are in calendar days.


Apply for approval in principle

You must apply by using the Request for Approval in Principle (INZ 1112) form. If using a Licensed Immigration Adviser or other third party to help complete the form, you must declare this in the relevant section.

You will need to pay the application fee when you apply.

We contact you if we need any more information.

Receiving centre details

Receiving centres handle the administrative, non-decision making activities surrounding the lodgement of a visa application. The information here is a guide only. For the most up to date and accurate information please visit the the website as listed below.

Payment methods

Credit Card
You can pay with Visa or MasterCard. We take payment when we receive your application. You must have enough funds available on the day we receive your application or it may be returned to you.

Debit Card
You can pay by debit card. We take payment when we receive your application. You must have enough funds available on the day we receive your application or it may be returned to you.

Bank cheque/draft
You can pay by Bank cheque.

Bank cheques should be made payable to the NZ Immigration Service.

Personal cheque
You can pay by personal cheque.

Personal cheques should be addressed to the NZ Immigration Service. If you pay by personal cheque your application will be held for 10 working days to allow the cheque to be cleared. This delay will increase the time needed to assess your application.

Postal address

Immigration New Zealand
PO Box 22111
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand


Phone enquiries
Monday to Saturday
06:00 to 24:00

Closed Sunday

Other notes

Applications made in New Zealand

For applications made in New Zealand, there is no courier fee to be paid for applications or documents to be returned.


Wait for a decision

We assess your application and conduct a labour market test, and decide if you are eligible to recruit overseas workers.

Approval in principle applications can take some time to process because we consult with various external parties before making a decision. If your application is for lower skilled work, the processing time may be longer.


Support a work visa application

Once you are approved in principle, you can go ahead and recruit workers from overseas. You can hire workers into the jobs stated in your application within the timeframe specified.

With each visa application you support you will need to provide a copy of your AIP letter to the candidate to submit with their application.

Not the right option for you?

Explore your immigration options or browse our employer scheme options