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.

The length of your visa will depend on:

  • how long you’ve been offered employment
  • the skill-band of your employment
  • whether your employer is an accredited labour hire company.

Employment skill-bands for Essential Skills Work Visas

Check the tables below for the circumstances that apply to you. The durations listed in the tables are the maximum you can stay on each Essential Skills Work Visa. However, if your employment contract is shorter than the time indicated below, your visa will be granted only for the length of your employment contract.

The following table provides the skill-band and duration of your visa, based on the ANZSCO skill level and remuneration of your employment, if you apply or applied for your visa on and after 26 November 2018.

Skill band ANZSCO skill level Remuneration Maximum duration of visa
Higher-skilled Any

$37.50 per hour or higher

5 years
Mid-skilled 1, 2, or 3

$21.25 - $37.49 per hour

3 years
Lower-skilled 4 or 5

Less than $37.50 per hour

12 months (maximum total stay of 36 months)
Lower-skilled Any

Less than $21.25 per hour

12 months (maximum total stay of 36 months)

 

The following table provides the skill-band and duration of your visa, based on the ANZSCO skill level and remuneration of your employment if you applied for your visa on or after 15 January 2018 but before 26 November 2018.

Skill band ANZSCO skill level Remuneration Maximum duration of visa
Higher-skilled Any

$36.44 per hour or higher

5 years
Mid-skilled 1, 2, or 3

$20.65 - $36.43 per hour

3 years
Lower-skilled 4 or 5

Less than $36.44 per hour

12 months (maximum total stay of 36 months)
Lower-skilled Any

Less than $20.65 per hour

12 months (maximum total stay of 36 months)

 

Previous remuneration tables

Applying for another Essential Skills Work Visa

If you want to stay in New Zealand longer, you can apply for another Essential Skills Work Visa. There's normally 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. The only exceptions are people who have lower-skilled employment or are subject to a 12-month stand-down period. 

Each time you apply for a new Essential Skills Work Visa you'll need to show us that you meet all the requirements for us to grant you a visa. This includes your employer making sure there is no New Zealander who could do the job before they offer it to you.

Stand-down period for lower-skilled workers

Once you have spent 3 years working in New Zealand in lower-skilled employment, you must leave New Zealand for 12 consecutive months before we can grant you another Essential Skills Work Visa for lower-skilled employment. The period of 12 months outside New Zealand is called a ‘stand-down period’.

If you are subject to a stand-down period, you cannot be granted a further Essential Skills Work Visa for lower-skilled work. You may still be eligible for a different type of visa, or for an Essential Skills Work Visa to do mid- or higher-skilled work.