Visa factsheet 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 may be able to support visa applications for your partner and dependent children.

Overview

Overview

Duration

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

How long you can stay


With this visa you can

  • Work in New Zealand for an employer who has offered you a full-time 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 may be able to apply separately for visas based on their relationship to you.
  • This visa doesn't allow self-employment. If you want to be self-employed, you can apply for an Entrepreneur Work Visa.

Visas for your family

Criteria

Meeting the criteria

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 may be able to support visa applications for your partner and dependent children.

Use the filters to display country specific tips, under evidence, to assist you with your application

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Identity

You must provide proof of your identity

  • 1 acceptable photo if you apply online, or 2 photos if you use a paper application form.
  • your passport or certificate of identity.

Acceptable photos

If you submit a paper application, provide your original passport or a certified copy.  We can usually process your application faster if you provide your original passport.

If you apply online, you must upload a copy of your passport when you apply. We will let you know if you need to send your passport after you've applied.

Sending your passport for online applications

Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after you plan to leave New Zealand.

Also provide your Kartu Keluarga.

If you’re not a French national, also provide a copy of your carte d’assuré.

Also provide a copy of your livret de famille.

If you are a Filipino citizen departing the Philippines, your passport must also be valid for 6 months beyond your intended date of departure due to Philippine exit requirements.

Also provide a copy of your Identity card.

Also provide your:

  • Hukou (household registration book)
  • Chinse identity card.

If you are a citizen of China and you submit a paper application form in China, you must also complete a supplementary form.

Supplementary form for Chinese citizens (INZ 1027) PDF 306KB

If you are submitting a paper application form, you must provide a supplementary form for Hong Kong and Macao visitors, workers and students.

Supplementary form for Hong Kong and Macao visitors, workers and students (INZ 1220) PDF 322KB

Character

You must be of good character

You may need to provide police certificates as proof of your good character.

If you're aged 17 or older and plan to stay in New Zealand for more than 24 months (including any time you have already spent in New Zealand), you must provide police certificates from:

  • any country you are a citizen of
  • any country you have spent more than 5 years in since you turned 17.

You don't need to provide police certificates if:

  • you have provided them to us with an earlier visa application, and
  • they were issued in the previous 24 months.

Good character

How to obtain a police certificate

If you provide a police certificate that is not in English, you must provide an English translation.

This includes police certificates that record no convictions.

The acceptable character certificate for the Philippines is the NBI clearance.

Health

You must be in good health

You may need to have a chest x-ray, a medical examination or both as proof of your good health.

When you need an x-ray or medical examination

You must provide a chest x-ray completed in the last 3 months, even if you've provided one to us previously, if:

  • you have spent 6 consecutive months in China since the last x-ray certificate was issued, and
  • you are now coming to NZ for more than 6 months.

Bona fide

You must genuinely intend to meet the conditions of your visa

When we decide if your intentions are genuine (bona fide), we consider all the information:

  • you provide to support your application
  • we have about your personal circumstances, and
  • any previous applications.

Bona fide

New Zealand job offer

You must have an offer of full-time work

Your job offer must:

  • be current at the time you apply for your visa
  • be for full-time work

You must provide a copy of your employment agreement as evidence of your job offer. The employment agreement must include:

  • your employer’s name and contact details
  • your name and contact details
  • your job title
  • the address for your place of work 
  • the kind of work you’ll be doing and your responsibilities at work
  • details of any necessary qualifications or work experience
  • information about whether you’ll need New Zealand registration to do the work
  • how long the work will be for
  • how long you have to take up the job offer
  • pay and work conditions that comply with New Zealand employment law.

Your employment agreement must be with an employer who has a history of compliance with immigration and employment law. We won’t normally grant a visa if your employer is included on the list of non-compliant employers maintained by the Labour Inspectorate.

Employment agreements and rights

List of non-compliant employers

Job offer scams are common in India and South Asia, please ensure your job offer is genuine.

How to determine how realistic the job offer is

Your employer can’t pay you less than they’d have to pay a New Zealander to do the work.

Your job offer can’t be for work planting, maintaining, harvesting or packing crops in the horticulture or viticulture industries.

If a labour hire company has offered you work in the construction sector in Canterbury, the labour hire company must be accredited.

See a list of accredited labour hire companies

Availability of New Zealanders

There must be no New Zealanders available to do the work you’ve been offered

You must provide an ‘Employer Supplementary Form’ completed by your employer describing the work you’ve been offered.  Your employer must also provide evidence they have made genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders, unless one of the following applies:

  • The job you’ve been offered is on one of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists and you meet the qualification and work experience requirements listed for your occupation.
  • You are applying to continue working in the role you currently hold and have been invited to apply, or have applied, for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa based on your current employment.

 

Your employer’s evidence can include:

  • website and newspaper advertisements
  • records of engaging with a recruitment company 
  • a Skills Match Report from Work and Income New Zealand - your employer must supply this if the work they're offering you is low-skilled
  • the outcome of their recruitment efforts.

 

Skill shortage list check
Employer Supplementary Form (INZ 1113) PDF 256KB

Qualifications and/or experience

You must be qualified to do the work you’ve been offered

The qualifications and/or experience you need are listed by occupation in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).  Evidence of qualifications can include:

  • original or certified copies of your qualifications
  • evidence the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) recognises your qualification.

Evidence of experience can include documents that show:

  • the work that you did
  • the dates you did the work
  • how many hours a week you worked (on average)
  • the contact details for your employer or employers
  • how your work experience relates to the work you’ve been offered in New Zealand.

You can check the specific qualifications and/or experience you need by searching the ANZSCO titles for your occupation. You’ll find these on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
Australian Bureau of Statistics

If you need to provide evidence of relevant work experience in Eastern Europe, you should provide a copy of your official workbook from that country.

If you need to provide evidence of work experience in a European country but are not a citizen of a Schengen member state, you should provide evidence of your right to work in that country.

Evidence of your right to work is a copy of your Schengen visa for the time you were working.

Evidence of work experience includes employment certificates, employment contracts, payslips, Social Security System (SSS) records, PhilHealth records and income tax returns (with receipts).

Employment certificates should be on the employer’s official letterhead and include the company’s contact details. A CV/resume is not sufficient.

Certificates of employment must be complete and be independently verifiable. The certificate must indicate as a minimum: the position/s you held, the period/s of your employment, your employer’s address and contact details

If you have worked overseas, you should provide a copy of your work visa and POEA Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)/e-Receipt and a copy your job description(s).

If you are a citizen of Brazil you should provide your work book as evidence of your work experience.

Occupational registration

You may need New Zealand registration

If registration is required to work in your occupation in New Zealand, you must provide either:

  • a certified copy of your full or provisional New Zealand registration
  • confirmation from the appropriate registration body that you’re eligible for New Zealand registration.

Occupational registration

Not subject to stand-down period

You must not currently be required to spend 12 consecutive months outside New Zealand (subject to a ‘stand-down period’)

You cannot be granted a visa to do lower-skilled work if you are subject to a stand-down period.

You are subject to a stand-down period if you have spent 3 years working in lower-skilled employment in New Zealand while holding an Essential Skills Work Visa. The only way to satisfy the stand-down requirement is to spend 12 consecutive months outside of New Zealand.

Being subject to a stand-down period does not prevent you from being granted a mid-or higher-skilled Essential Skills Work Visa.

Visas applied for before 28 August 2017 are not considered when calculating the time spent working in lower-skilled employment.

Employment skill bands

Process

Process

The information below will help you understand the process so you can plan ahead and have the best chance of submitting a complete application.

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Fees & receiving centre

Fees & receiving centre

The information below will help you understand the process, timeframes and costs involved in applying for this visa, so you can plan ahead and have the best chance of submitting a complete application.

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Visa conditions

Visa conditions

If you are granted a visa, there are conditions that you must meet. These visa conditions are described below.

Entry permission

You must apply for entry permission when you arrive in New Zealand. You can do this by completing an arrival card, which you are given on the way to New Zealand.

Travelling to and Arriving in New Zealand

You can be refused entry permission if:

  • you don’t meet our character requirements
  • your circumstances have changed since you were granted a visa
  • you refuse to let us to take your photo, or provide us with your fingerprints or an iris scan, if we ask you for them.

Travel

If you want to travel in and out of New Zealand, you must have valid multiple entry travel conditions to return to New Zealand.

Your travel conditions are printed on your visa label, or included in a visa letter.

Work

You may work only in the specific occupation, for the employer and in the location specified on your visa.

You must be paid at or above the amount required by the skill-band of your employment.

You must provide evidence of the payment of remuneration if requested by an immigration officer.

Study

You can study for up to 3 months in any 12-month period.

You may be able to do other study if it’s required by your employer as part of your employment.

Visa expiry

You must leave New Zealand before your visa expires.

You can stay up to 5 years depending on the skill-band of the job you're offered.

How long you can stay on an Essential Skills Work Visa

Visa expiry dates are printed on a visa label or included in a visa letter.

Employers

Employer obligations

New Zealand employers have certain obligations they must meet when employing a non New Zealand resident.

What an employer needs to do

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Genuine attempt to recruit

You must have tried to recruit New Zealanders for the positions

You must try to recruit a New Zealander for your vacancy unless:

  • the work is in an occupation on one of our essential skills in demand lists and your candidate has the qualifications and/or work experienced listed for that occupation
  • your candidate is already working in the role and has recently applied or been invited to apply for residence under our Skilled Migrant Category.


You must provide evidence to show you have made genuine attempts to recruit a New Zealander for the vacancy. The evidence you provide will depend on the occupation.

If the occupation is ANZSCO skill level 1, 2 or 3, you must provide evidence you advertised the vacancy, including:

  • the text for your advert
  • where and how long your advert ran for
  • an explanation why any applicants from New Zealand were not hired.

 

If the occupation is ANZSCO skill level 4 or 5, you must provide evidence you advertised the vacancy, as well as a Skills Match Report from Work and Income.

The Skills Match Report process may be different if your vacancy is in Queenstown.

Hiring in Queenstown

Skill shortage list check

Job offer

You must provide a written employment agreement, which your candidate will need to support their application

Your job offer must:

  • be current at the time your candidate applies for their visa
  • be for full-time work.


You must provide a written  employment agreement as evidence of your job offer, which must include:

  • your  name and contact details
  • your candidate’s name and contact details
  • your candidate’s job title
  • the address for your workplace
  • the kind of work your candidate will be doing and their responsibilities at work
  • details of any qualifications or work experience your candidate will need
  • information about whether your candidate will need New Zealand registration to do the work
  • how long the work is for
  • how long your candidate has to take up your offer
  • pay and work conditions that comply with New Zealand employment law.

 

Employment agreements and rights

Employer supplementary form

You must complete an ‘Employer Supplementary Form’

You’ll need to give your completed form to your candidate, who will need to include it with their work visa application together with their employment agreement.

Employer Supplementary Form (INZ 1113) PDF 256KB