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Understanding the New Zealand Work to Residence Immigration Route – Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa

If you have a dream to move to New Zealand and live there permanently, you will need to understand the immigration options which will allow you to do so. The clean air, beautiful landscapes, and laid back outdoor-oriented lifestyle are highly attractive to many migrants seeking a new start for themselves and their family members. New Zealand prides itself on its work-life balance and friendly society which welcomes new migrants from all over the world. It also boasts a world-class education and healthcare system and a thriving economy at the cutting edge of digital technology and innovation. In this article, we will explain how migrants can work towards acquiring permanent residency through the ‘Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa.

What Is The Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa?

The New Zealand Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa is designed for migrants who have an in-demand skill set and wish to work towards acquiring permanent residency in the country. Applicants need to have a job offer of full-time work from an accredited employer. After two years of working for the accredited employer, they can apply for permanent residency in New Zealand.

What Is A New Zealand Accredited Employer?

The New Zealand immigration service defines an Accredited Employer as one which is approved by them “to employ workers under the Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Immigration Instructions. Only accredited employers can support a Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Visa”. As such, if you are considering this visa, you will need to apply only to these accredited employers, a full list of which can be found on the NZ Immigration website. You can search for employers by industry sector; for example, approved employers in the healthcare industry include care homes, district health boards, private health providers, and dental businesses.

What Are The Conditions Attached To A Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa?

If you are granted a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa, you will be given three months to travel to New Zealand, after which you will be able to leave and re-enter for 30 months (this is the length of stay granted for the visa). The scheme is open to those who are aged 55 years or less.

Once in New Zealand, you will only be able to work for the employer and in the occupation included in your application. If your employer loses their ‘accredited’ status, you will then be able to seek work for another accredited employer or apply for a variation of conditions to work for a non-accredited employer.

The visa also allows holders to study for up to three months in any one year period during their time in New Zealand.

For those with a spouse/partner and dependant children, Immigration New Zealand states, “You can’t include a partner or dependent children in your work visa application, but they can apply for visas based on their relationship to you”.

What Are The Eligibility Criteria For A Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa?

In order to apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa, you will need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • You must be 55 years or less
  • You must be in good health and of good character
  • You must have a job offer from an accredited employer for a full-time job of at least two years in duration – you will need to provide a copy of your employment agreement with your visa application which includes the following information:
    • 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.
  • You will need to be paid at least NZD $79,560 a year (before tax)
  • Depending on your occupation, you may need New Zealand registration – for example, you will need this if you are an architect, Barrister, electrician, healthcare worker, financial advisor, or real estate agent.

How Do I Apply, How Much Does It Cost, And How Long Will It Take To Receive A Decision?

If you have decided that the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa is right for you, you can complete the application process either online or using a paper form. The current visa application fee is NZ$635 (this is not refundable if your application is refused). You can normally expect to receive a decision within four months.

Applications Outside Of New Zealand Are Not Being Processed Due To COVID-19

Unfortunately, since 10th August 2020, Immigration New Zealand has not been processing any Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa applications made outside of New Zealand. In addition, the border is currently closed, preventing entry into the country for all but a very few exceptions. As such, you will need to wait until this restriction is lifted in 2021 before you can consider applying.

Wrapping Up

The Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa offers a wonderful opportunity for migrants and their family members to use their skills to find a job with an accredited employer and work towards gaining permanent residency. The process of applying is relatively straightforward, fast to process, and not expensive, especially when compared to similar visas in other countries. COVID-19 means that anyone who wants to travel to New Zealand to work is currently unable to apply due to the border entry and visa processing restrictions currently in place. We can only hope these will be lifted soon in 2021, allowing migrants and their families to make their move to New Zealand, and apply for permanent residency after two years. If you need legal assistance with your immigration, don’t hesitate to speak to an experience immigration lawyer.

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