About this visa Essential Skills Work Visa

If you’ve been offered a full-time job, and you have the necessary qualifications and experience to work in that job, you can apply for a temporary visa to work in New Zealand. Your employer must have checked if any New Zealanders were available to do the work, before offering you the job. If you're granted this visa, you’ll be able to support visa applications for your partner and dependent children.


Up to 5 years depending on the skill level of the job you’re offered

How long you can stay

All Visa Conditions

With this visa you can

  • Work in New Zealand for an employer who has offered you a job.
  • Study for up to 3 months in any 12 month period, or do any study required as part of your employment.

Things to note

  • Your employer needs to try to recruit any suitable New Zealanders who are available to do the work before offering you the job.
  • Your partner or dependent children can apply seperately for visas based on their relationship to you. For your dependent children to be eligible for a visa, you’ll need to be earning at least NZ $36,850.44.
  • This visa doesn't allow self-employment. If you want to be self-employed, you can apply for an Entrepreneur Work Visa.

Entrepreneur Work Visa
Explore family visa options

The application process

Stage 1

1 You’re offered full-time work in New Zealand

To apply for this visa, you’ll need to provide a written employment agreement and an ‘Employer Supplementary Form’ completed by your employer. Your employer must include evidence they made genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders, unless one of the following applies:

  • your work is in an occupation on an Essential Skills in Demand List and you have the qualifications and/or work experience listed for that occupation
  • you're applying to continue working in the role you currently hold, and have been invited to apply or have applied under the Skilled Migrant Category based on that employment.

Your employer must also engage with Work and Income and obtain a Skills Match Report if your job offer is for a low-skilled role.


2 Apply for a work visa

Check if you’re eligible to apply online, it’s faster and easier. You can then apply and pay online.

Or apply on the paper form and send it to us with your application fee, immigration levy, and your supporting documents.

You can use our Office and fees finder to find out how much you’ll need to pay, and where to send your application.

Eligible to apply online


3 We make a decision about your application

We’ll process your application as soon as we can.

Most online applications are processed within 25 days, and most paper applications within 23 days, but it can take longer in some situations.

If there’s anything else you need to do, we’ll be in touch.

How long you can stay on an Essential Skills Work Visa

Please check that you meet the detailed criteria before you apply for a visa or travel to New Zealand

Use the filters to display detailed criteria and evidence

Work visa