Information about Work Exchange Scheme Work Visa

This visa allows people to work in New Zealand as part of an approved work exchange scheme. You’ll need to provide a letter of acceptance from the scheme organiser when you apply.

Overview

Overview

Length of stay

Up to 12 months, unless your work exchange scheme has a special arrangement with us

Quota

Up to 1000 places each year


You can

  • Do paid work in New Zealand as part of an approved work exchange scheme.
  • Stay in accommodation provided by your work exchange scheme organiser.

Things to note

  • You can't include a partner or dependent children in your visa application, but they can apply for visas based on their relationship to you if your work exchange scheme allows partners and children to accompany participants.

Explore family visa options

Criteria

Meeting the criteria

The criteria and evidence below will provide you with the information you need to meet the requirements.

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

You must provide proof of your identity:

Acceptable photos

You may provide your original passport, or a certified copy when you submit your application. If you provide a certified copy we may request your original passport to complete your application.

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

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

Also provide your:

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

Also provide a copy of your Identity card.

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.

Who needs 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.

Character

You must be of good character

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

If you are 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 do not 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 get a police certificate

Acceptance to an approved work exchange scheme

You must be accepted into an approved work exchange scheme

You must provide evidence that you’ve been accepted into an approved work exchange scheme. For example, a letter from the scheme organiser. 

Approved work exchange schemes

Medical and dental insurance

You must have medical and dental insurance for the length of your exchange

You must provide proof you're insured, for example:

  • a copy of your insurance certificate
  • an approval letter from your insurance company.

We may ask to see your evidence when you arrive in New Zealand

Onward travel

You must have made arrangements to leave New Zealand

Evidence can include:

  • a travel ticket out of New Zealand
  • a guarantee from your work exchange scheme’s New Zealand guarantor that even if you don’t complete the exchange, you’ll have a travel ticket out of New Zealand at the end of your stay.
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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Conditions

Conditions

These are the conditions that you must meet once you have your visa.

Travel

After you arrive, you can travel in and out of New Zealand as many times as you like before your visa expires.

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.

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.

Work

You can only do work arranged by the Work Exchange Scheme that you have been accepted into.

Study

You can study for up to 3 months.

Medical and dental insurance

You must maintain medical and dental insurance cover for the length of your work exchange.

We may ask to see evidence you’re insured when you arrive in New Zealand.

Visa expiry

You must leave New Zealand before your visa expires.

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.

Key COVID-19 updates for Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSEs) in New Zealand

What an employer needs to do

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Acceptance to an approved work exchange scheme

The person applying for a visa must have been accepted into an approved work exchange scheme

A letter from you confirming they’ve been accepted into your approved work exchange scheme.

Travel arrangements

The person taking part in the scheme must have arranged to leave New Zealand at the end of their exchange

When applying for a work visa, people must provide evidence they have either:

  • a ticket out of New Zealand
  • a guarantee from your work exchange scheme’s New Zealand guarantor that even if they don’t complete the exchange, they’ll have a travel ticket out of New Zealand at the end of their stay.