SKILLED MIGRANT (INDEPENDENT):
Skilled Migrant visas are for qualified people between the ages of 18 and 55, who have skills listed on the Long Term Skills Shortages List (LTSSL), meaning they are occupations in high demand in New Zealand. This visa allows you to live and work in New Zealand on a permanent basis and receive associated benefits as a permanent resident such as Medicare. Visa eligibility for an Independent Skilled Migrant is based on a points system, which will depend on a number of factors including age, skills/experience, occupation and English language. A Skills Assessment will usually need to be completed by NZQA to determine the equivalency of your qualifications and you must meet any necessary registration and licensing requirements to work within your field in New Zealand.
To apply under the skilled Migrant Category, applicants must first register an Expression of Interest (EOI) to initiate an application for residence. When you complete an EOI, it goes into the Immigration New Zealand selection pool. At selection time, those with 140 points or more are automatically selected to apply for residence. If after the first selection, there are places remaining, EOIs with more than 100 points will be selected to fill the remaining places. (Check your EOI Eligibility here). Preference will be given to EOIs with points for being employed in New Zealand or having an offer of skilled employment. Selections are completed every 2 weeks, and an EOI will be current for a period of 6 months from the date of submission to the pool. If your EOI is not selected within that 6 months, it will automatically be withdrawn and you must submit a new EOI application.
There are a number of migration options for partners, spouses, children, parents and other family members of New Zealand citizens, New Zealand permanent residents or eligible Australian citizens. Generally full work and study rights will be granted with family visas, and access to Medicare medical benefits.
- Partner / Spouse
Allows for people to enter and stay in New Zealand with their de-facto NZ citizen partner or spouse. De Facto relationships need to be proven as genuine and ongoing, with evidence such as joint financials/accounts, shared ownerships, and meeting the 12 month cohabitation requirement. Usually an initial provisional visa will be granted, followed by permanent residency of the relationship is still ongoing at the time of application. The relationship may be heterosexual or same sex, and an application may also include any dependent children.
Parents may be able to migrate to New Zealand if they have a child in NZ who has been a New Zealand citizen or resident for a minimum of 3 years preceding the application. An Expression of Interest is first required, and selection is required before a residence application can be submitted. There are categories Tier 1 and Tier 2, and are prioritised based on income level.
ENTREPRENEUR / INVESTOR or RETIREMENT:
This category is for applicants who can demonstrate they have been or have the ability to actively participate in business, or an investment capacity of at least NZD$1.5 million that will result in a significant contribution to New Zealand's economic development.
There is also a temporary entry category that offers a special Work to Residence option for people interested in establishing business opportunities in New Zealand, and would like to explore their options before applying for permanent residency.
SAMOAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER:
The Samoan Quota Scheme allows up to 1,100 citizens of Samoa, and the Pacific Access Category allows up to 75 citizens of Kiribati, 75 citizens of Tuvalu and 250 citizens of Tonga to be granted residence in New Zealand each year. To be eligible to make an application for residence under the Samoan/Pacific Quota Scheme, you must register for a ballot under the corresponding quota within the official registration period. The registration period each year is only about 1 month in duration, which varies depending on which scheme you are applying under. One month after the closure of the registration period, an electronic draw is conducted where registrations are drawn randomly until the quota number of people is met for each country. The applicant must be a Samoan or Pacific Islander citizen, between the ages of 18 and 45, and have an acceptable offer of employment. The minimum English language, health and character requirements must be met as well as income requirements if bringing a spouse and dependent children.
ASYLUM / REFUGEE:
Asylum seekers are found to be owed permanent protection to resettle in New Zealand under the Refugees Convention, if they satisfy the primary requirement of having a well founded fear of suffering or persecution in their home country and cannot return. There are various subclasses under the protections category, including Refugee, Emergency Rescue, Humanitarian and Women at Risk.
Immigration New Zealand oversees all immigration matters in New Zealand including visa and permits onshore, application processing and visa grants. You can read further information about NZ visas, permits and immigration to New Zealand on the Immigration NZ Website. To enter and remain in New Zealand for any reason (i.e. tourist, short term, temporary long stays or permanently), you will require a valid visa for the full duration of your stay. The type of visa you will require will depend on your specific circumstances and intentions while in New Zealand such as visiting, study, work, family, etc.
To remain longer in New Zealand than your original visa allows, you must submit another valid visa or permit application before the expiration date to remain in the country lawfully. It is important that you do not stay past the expiration of your visa, as being caught without a visa in New Zealand is grounds to be removed or detained. Once you have become unlawful in New Zealand, it can be difficult to obtain a further visa or permit and may hinder your chances of getting a subsequent application approved.
VISITOR / TOURIST:
To travel to New Zealand as a visitor, you must be a genuine tourist (i.e. sightseeing or visiting friends and relatives).To be eligible for a visitor visa, you will be required to hold an outward flight departing before the expiry of your permit as well as proof that you can financially support yourself while in NZ (approx. NZ$1,000 per month / per person). You will not need to obtain a Tourist Visa to travel to and enter New Zealand if you hold a passport from one of the designated visa free countries – please see NZ Visa Waiver Countries. If you hold a British passport you eligible for a visitor's permit for up to 6 months, and other eligible countries will be granted permits upon arrival for a stay of no more than 3 months. If you do not hold a passport from one of the visa free counties, you will need to obtain a Visitor Visa before travelling to New Zealand. All applicants may only spend a total combined period of 9 months in NZ during every 18 month period, and visitors through the Visa Waiver Program may stay a total of 6 months in every 12 month period.
The New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Scheme gives young people aged between 18 and 30 the opportunity to travel to New Zealand and work casually during their stay. This category allows visa holders to work in any type of employment to supplement their travels, however permanent employment cannot be undertaken. Generally the Working Holiday Maker is granted for a total of 12 months (depending on your country of citizenship), and only 1 Working Holiday Visa can be obtained in a lifetime. Working holiday permit holders can also undertake one single course of study for up to 3 months (and up to 6 months for citizens of selected countries). New Zealand currently has Working Holiday Maker arrangements with 30 countries, please see NZ Working Holiday Schemes.
If you would like to study in New Zealand for more than 3 months, you will need to obtain a student visa. You will require a formal offer of enrolment from an accredited study institution, evidence of payment of the tuition fees, guarantee of accommodation and financial support for the term of study, and satisfy health and character requirements. Generally students are allowed to work 20 hours per week, and accompanying family members may also work full time if the student visa holder is studying a post-graduate degree or towards an occupation on the Long Term Skills Shortage List. The New Zealand academic year is from late January to mid December for schools and late February to early November for tertiary programmes including Universities and Polytechnics.
You will require a full time job offer from a New Zealand employer to enable you to get a temporary work visa under the Essential Skills work policy. Your job offer must come from a New Zealand employer that is accredited or can prove to Immigration NZ that they have genuinely searched and there are no suitable New Zealand workers available to do that job (a labour market test will be completed). Generally the occupation would need to be listed on the Immediate Skills Shortage List, however any occupation that is considered Skilled will be acceptable as long as the employer can prove there were no New Zealander to fill the role. You will need to prove that you are suitably qualified for the position by showing evidence of qualifications and professional work experience you have undertaken. When assessing whether you are suitably qualified for a position, your education and work experience will be compared against the prerequisite criteria for that occupation as listed on the Australian & New Zealand Classification of Occupations (ANSZCO). Work Permits are usually issued for the period of the employment contract offered to a maximum of 3-5 years (after which a new permit needs to be applied for). If you intend to stay long term in New Zealand, you may be able to apply for a Work to Residence after 2 years of employment in NZ if your occupation is listed on the Long Term Skills Shortages List (LTSSL).
SPECIFIC PURPOSE / EVENT:
You may be eligible for a work permit if you are coming to New Zealand for a specific purpose or event for which your skills attributes or expertise will benefit New Zealand. You will need to provide an offer of employment or invitation to a scheduled event. You must also show departure from New Zealand when the employment or event has been completed. The following may apply under this specific purpose category: Senior Business Person/Chief Executives, Sports Players & Referees, Show Judges, Dance/Music Performer, Pastor, Installer of Equipment, and Entertainer & supporting crew. Each of these occupations will carry a different validity period and eligibility requirements.
Citizens and permanent residents of Australia do not require an advance visa to enter New Zealand (temporary residents of Australia will still require a visa). Upon arrival to New Zealand, an Australian of good health and character will automatically be issued a temporary residence visa, which will allow them rights to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely. Although Australian citizens and permanent residents can automatically be granted a residence visa to live in New Zealand, their temporary residence visa will expire upon exit of New Zealand. Australians can qualify for a permanent resident visa if they live continuously in NZ for 24 months, then they could then apply and be granted Permanent Residence Visa (RRV) in their passport.
New Zealand citizenship is required to travel on a New Zealand passport, live and work in New Zealand indefinitely (without the renewal of permanent residency), and to obtain employment in some public service or Government positions. To be eligible for New Zealand citizenship a person must hold New Zealand permanent residence, and have lived in New Zealand for a minimum of 5 years (as well as spending a minimum of 240 days in NZ each of those 5 years). You must intend to live permanently in New Zealand, have a reasonable command of English and be of good character.
Citizenship applications are made on an individual and not a family basis and a separate application is required for each person in a family. Citizenship applications presently take around 8-10 months to process while passport applications only take a few days once citizenship is conferred. New Zealand allows its citizens to hold multiple citizenships, however not all countries have the same policy and this must be considered before applying for citizenship in NZ.
The NZ Citizenship policy changed in April 2005. If a person had obtained, or applied for, New Zealand permanent residence prior to 21 April 2005, then a slightly different criteria apply. Children born in New Zealand on or after 1 January 2006 will automatically be New Zealand citizens only if one of their parents was a New Zealand citizen or held residence status at the time of the birth.