Work visa holder supporting family

Most types of work visas allow the holder to support visas for their partners or dependent children. However there are some restrictions to be aware of.

If you hold a work visa, you will normally be able to support the following visas for your partner and dependent children:

  • an open work visa for your partner
  • a visitor visa for your partner or your children
  • a student visa for your children

All work, visitor and student visas granted to the partners or children of work visa holders will be granted for the same duration as your work visa.

Who cannot support visas for partners and dependent children?

You cannot support a work, visitor or student visa for your partner or dependent child if you hold a work visa granted under one of the following categories:

  • Foreign crew of fishing vessels
  • Working Holiday Scheme
  • Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Instructions
  • Supplementary Seasonal Employer (SSE) Instructions
  • Silver Fern Job Search Instructions
  • Skilled Migrant Category Job Search Instructions
  • Domestic staff of diplomatic, consular, or official staff
  • Essential Skills, if your employment is lower skilled (see below).

Essential Skills work visas for lower-skilled employment

All Essential Skills work visas applied for after 28 August 2017 will be granted with the skill-band of the employment stated on the approval letter. If your skill band is lower-skilled, you cannot support visas for your family members, unless one of the following applies:

  • Your partner or dependent child held a visa based on their relationship to you on 28 August 2017. You can continue to support your family for visas while holding an Essential Skills visa for lower-skilled employment.
  • You previously studied in New Zealand, then subsequently held a post-study work visa. If you were eligible to support your partner for a work visa or your children for student visas while you held a student visa, and subsequently supported them for a visa based on the relationship while holding your post study work visa, you may continue to support family for visas while holding an Essential Skills visa for lower-skilled employment.

Understanding skill-bands