Hiring a migrant who is already in New Zealand

Before offering a job to a migrant who is already in New Zealand, you must check that the conditions of their visa allow them to work. Conditions vary depending on which visa a migrant holds and individual migrants may also have specific conditions on their visa.

Student visa holders

Some students are able to work for up to 20 hours a week during the academic year and some may work full-time during breaks. Students studying in some fields are eligible for work visas to enable them to fulfil practical course requirements.

All students who are legally allowed to work in New Zealand will have an endorsement in their passports, or a letter from us  stating their entitlement to work and the limitations on such work. To qualify, students must satisfy one of seven conditions.

Conditions for working on a student visa

Post-Study work visas

After a student has completed their studies they may be able to get a work visa under the Study to Work instructions. They must be either fulfilling practical training requirements that are part of their course requirements, have passed and completed a qualification in New Zealand which took three years or more to complete, or gained a qualification which would earn them points under Skilled Migrant Category criteria.

You can check a specific migrant’s conditions using VisaView.

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Options for hiring graduates

Working Holiday visa holders

New Zealand has reciprocal agreements with more than 35 countries allowing people aged 18 to 30 years, and for some countries 18 to 35 years, to work temporarily while on holiday in New Zealand. Working holidaymakers from most participating countries can stay in New Zealand for up to a year. Citizens of the United Kingdom can stay for 23 months.

Working holiday visas do not require a job offer, meaning they can work in almost any job. The conditions to work for working holidaymakers vary according to the country they come from. Generally, a working holiday visa holder can work for between 3-12 months, however they can’t take up permanent employment. While you must not offer a permanent contract, a working holiday visa holder can have several jobs with different employers.

You can check a specific migrant’s conditions using VisaView.

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Work visa holders

A Work Visa is typically granted based on a specific job. If you are looking to hire a migrant that already has a work visa based on a job offer from another employer, or you are offering a new job to a current employee they will need to inform Immigration New Zealand. Depending on the circumstances, they may apply for a variation of their visa conditions. However in some situations they may need to apply for a new visa instead.

You can check a specific migrant’s conditions using VisaView.

Learn more about Variation of Conditions
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Resident visa holders

Most resident visa holders can work for any employer. You can use VisaView to check whether they are eligible to work for you.

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Interim visas

If you have an employee who is applying for a further work visa then they may be granted an interim visa that allows them to stay in New Zealand lawfully while their application is processed. They may be eligible to continue working on an interim visa if the job is in the same position, for the same employer and in the same location as their current visa.

Immigration New Zealand will make a decision on whether to grant a person an interim visa close to the day their current visa expires and will inform them by email or letter. A person cannot apply for an interim visa and there is no guarantee that one will be granted. There are also no fees or forms. Interim visas are valid for a maximum of six months or until a decision is made on the person’s temporary visa application – whichever is earlier.

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