New Zealand Essential Skills Work Visa is given to foreign nationals who have been offered a full-time paid job. Read more on the purpose of the Essential Skills temporary work visa, who is eligible, and how to apply.
With a population of just under five million people, New Zealand is highly reliant on foreign skills and labour for its economic growth, perhaps more so than many other countries. Thankfully, there is no lack of skilled migrant workers who are keen to experience the stunning beauty, laid-back nature, and great work opportunities in New Zealand. Every year, thousands of hopeful candidates apply for a visa to Immigration New Zealand in the hope they will be granted permission to live and work in the country. On this page, we will explain the purpose of the Essential Skills temporary work visa, who is eligible, and how to apply.
The New Zealand Essential Skills work visa is for foreign nationals who have been offered a full-time paid job. The visa is granted on a temporary basis. It is important to note that applications under this route will cease on 31st October 2021 and will be replaced by the new Accredited Employer Work Visa from 1st November 2021.
NZ Essential Skills Work visa holders are able to:
The NZ Essential Skills work visa does not automatically include dependant family members (i.e. partner or dependent children), but it may be able to apply separately for suitable visas based on their relationship to the main visa holder.
There are a number of eligibility rules which must be met in order to acquire an NZ Essential Skills Work visa, as follows:
Your visa duration will depend on how much you are paid in New Zealand, as follows:
The application process for the NZ Essential Skilled Work visa is completed on the Immigration New Zealand website. The application process is as follows:
Once you are offered a full-time role in New Zealand, you will need to request a written employment agreement and an ‘Employer Supplementary Form’ completed by your employer. This must include evidence they made genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders unless one of the following applies:
If the job offered pays below the median wage, your employer must also engage with Work and Income NZ to obtain a Skills Match Report.
If applying online, you will then need to upload any documents required to support your case and pay the application fee.
If NZIS requires any further documents or other evidence, they will let you know. Once your application is processed, you will be notified of the outcome.
You will be advised by NZIS when you apply which documents to upload to support your case. These may include the following:
The current application fee for an NZ Essential Skills work visa is NZD$495; this is not refunded if the application is refused.
At present, NZIS advise that 90% of applications are being processed within 67 days.
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