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What Is The New Zealand Temporary Specific Purpose Work Visa?

In recent decades, New Zealand has been popular with migrants seeking a new place to live, work, and study. Attracted by the stunning scenery, mountains, beaches, and wilderness, and the booming economy, there is much to offer those looking for a new start for themselves and their family. Compared to many other countries, the New Zealand immigration system makes the process of acquiring a visa relatively straightforward and affordable. There is also a wide range of visas available, catering for a wide range of situations. For those who need to travel to New Zealand for a specific purpose or event related to work or sport, the Specific Purpose Work Visa provides a suitable entry route. In this article, we will discuss the New Zealand Temporary Work Visa (Specific Purpose or Event), outlining who it is intended for, and who can apply.

What Is Meant By A ‘Specific Purpose Or Event’?

The New Zealand immigration service only issue the Specific Purpose work visa to those planning to visit New Zealand for an acceptable reason. These reasons are as follows:

Short-term secondments

The immigration rules state that eligible applicants must be a “senior or specialist business person on a short-term secondment who has a job offer with a substantial New Zealand company or a New Zealand subsidiary of an overseas company”. If you are using this route, you will need to provide a copy of your job offer, details of the secondment (such as the length and purpose), a completed Employer Supplementary Form (INZ 1113), and evidence you are an executive or senior manager or specialist personnel.

Business people being transferred

Employees who are being temporarily transferred from one part of an international business to a branch in New Zealand can apply for the Specific Purpose visa if they are classed as an executive or senior manager, or specialist personnel. Applicants need to submit evidence of an offer of secondment from their employer outlining the terms of the transfer, including the duration, and evidence of being an executive or senior manager or specialist personnel.

The scheme is also open to:

  • Business people coming to New Zealand for more than three months in any one year period for a specific business reason
  • Investors investigating investment opportunities
  • Entrepreneur Residence Visa applicants
  • Referees or judges – to referee or judge sports events, shows, displays, or exhibitions
  • Dance and music examiners from a recognised international teaching institution
  • Installers or servicers of specialised machinery or equipment supplied by an overseas company
  • Sports players and professional sports coaches
  • People working in the entertainment industry
  • Philippines nurses seeking occupational registration
  • Any other specific purpose or event

How Long Can I Stay In New Zealand On A Specific Purpose Work Visa?

The duration of the Specific Purpose work visa depends on the reason for your trip, as follows:

  • Short-term secondments – up to one year
  • Business people being transferred – up to three years
  • Business people in New Zealand for more than three months – up to one year
  • Principal applicants investigating investment opportunities – up to one year
  • Principal applicants applying for an Entrepreneur Residence Visa – up to nine months
  • Referees or judges – up to six months
  • Installers or servicers of specialised machinery or equipment supplied by an overseas company – up to three months
  • Sports players and professional sports coaches - If you are a sports player and professional coach who will coach at a national or regional level you can stay up to three years, otherwise one year
  • People working in the entertainment industry – for the period of your engagement
  • Philippines nurses seeking occupational registration – up to three months
  • Any other specific purpose or event – typically no more than six months.

In most cases, if your visa is due to expire, and you need more time to complete your assignment in New Zealand, you can extend your Specific Purpose visa. It is also important to note that your partner/spouse and children cannot be included in your Specific Purpose work visa application, but they can apply for visas separately based on their relationship to you.

What Are The Eligibility Criteria For The New Zealand Specific Purpose Visa?

In addition to proving that you are genuinely travelling to New Zealand for one of the specific reasons outlined above, you may also need to provide evidence of the following in order to satisfy the immigration services of your eligibility (you will be told which documents you need to provide when you apply):

  • You are in good health and of good character
  • If you have a job offer, you will need to supply an ‘Employer Supplementary Form’ completed by your employer. This will apply if you are:
    • a senior or specialist businessperson with a job offer in a substantial New Zealand company or a New Zealand subsidiary of an overseas company
    • a dance or music examiner with a job offer
    • a sports player or professional coach with an offer of paid employment from a New Zealand sports club
    • a Philippines nurse with a job offer from a District Health Board.
  • Your qualifications and/or experience
  • You have made arrangements for your onward travel from New Zealand (in the form of a flight ticket)
  • You have sufficient funds while you are in New Zealand for your maintenance and accommodation – this can take the form of:
    • Bank statements
    • Evidence of wages, salary or other payment that will be sufficient to support you while you are in New Zealand
    • A guarantee of maintenance and accommodation by your employer
    • Sponsorship by a relative or friend in New Zealand.

Wrapping Up

As the name suggests, if you hold a Specific Purpose work visa, you can only stay in New Zealand for the reason stated in your application. Do bear in mind also that at present, the borders of New Zealand are closed due to COVID-19, and as a result, all temporary visa application processing outside the country is suspended. This will likely and hopefully resume in 2021.


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