How long you can stay on an Essential Skills Work Visa

The time you can spend in New Zealand on an Essential Skills Work Visa will depend on your circumstances.

You can stay in New Zealand for up to 5 years on an Essential Skills Work Visa, depending on your circumstances. Check the table for the circumstances that apply to you. The times listed in the table are the maximum you can stay on each Essential Skills Work Visa. If your employment contract is for less than the time indicated below, your visa will be granted for the length of your employment contract. 

If you want to extend your stay in New Zealand, you can apply for another Essential Skills Work Visa. There's no limit to the number of Essential Skills Work Visas you can apply for, or the total time you can spend in New Zealand on Essential Skills Work Visas.

Each time you apply for a new Essential Skills Work Visa you'll need to show us you meet all the requirements for us to grant you a visa - this will include your employer re-testing the New Zealand labour market before offering you a job.

Your circumstances Maximum time you can stay
  • You’ve been offered work in an occupation classified as ANZSCO skill level 1
  • The work will pay an annual salary of NZ $55,000 or more
  • You haven’t been granted a 5-year Essential Skills Work Visa before.

5 years

  • You’ve been offered work in an occupation classified as ANZSCO skill level 1
  • You’ve been granted a 5-year Essential Skills Work Visa before.

3 years

  • You’ve been offered work in an occupation classified as ANZSCO skill level 1
  • The work will pay an annual salary less than NZ $55,000

3 years

  • You’ve been offered work in an occupation classified as ANZSCO skill level 2 or 3

3 years

  • You’ve been offered work in an occupation classified as ANZSCO skill level 4 or 5
  • Your job offer is for work in Canterbury
  • Your job offer is either from an employer who is not a labour hire company or is an accredited labour hire company.

3 years

3 years

  • You’ve been offered work in an occupation classified as ANZSCO skill level 4 or 5
  • Your employer is not an an accredited labour hire company.
  • Your job offer is for work outside of Canterbury.

1 year