Essential Skills – Approval in Principle

Being approved in principle means you can hire as many migrant workers as you need without repeating our labour market test. Migrant workers may receive visas for up to 3 years.


Typically 6 – 12 months

With this option employers can

  • Assist migrant workers to obtain visas for up to 3 years depending on if they are paid below, or at or above the New Zealand median wage.
  • Go through our labour market test before you’ve found a candidate and get pre-approved. This will make planning your recruitment easier.
  • Hire as many workers as you need to fill the number of jobs in your application, or until your approval expires.

Pay rates for Essential Skills

Things to note

  • If you applied for Approval in Principle by 30 June 2021 and your application was approved, you can continue to hire new migrants under this scheme until your AIP expires.
  • From mid-2022, this policy will be replaced by the Accredited Employer Work Visa.
  • Approval in principle is not available to hire workers to plant, maintain, harvest or pack crops in the horticulture or viticulture industries.
  • We can’t give you approval if there are suitable New Zealand workers available.