Essential Skills - Approval in Principle

Being approved in principle means you can hire multiple migrant workers without repeating our labour market test. You can employ as many migrants as approved in your approval in principle. You can employ migrants for between 12 months and 5 years, depending on skill level, making recruitment planning easier.

Duration of approval in principle

Typically 6 - 12 months.

Duration of work visas

Work visas can be granted for up to 5 years if the role is highly skilled (ANZSCO skill level 1). For low-skilled roles, work visas can be granted for no more than 1 year at a time.

With this option you can

  • Employ migrants with essential skills for up to 5 years.
  • 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.

Things to note

  • 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.
  • One approval in principle can cover:
    • Different roles
    • Different periods of time
    • Different regions of New Zealand. You must engage with Work and Income in all areas covered by your approval in principle request.

What's involved

  1. Request approval in principle
  2. We make a decision on your application
  3. Support a visa application
  4. Maintain your approval