I have received many queries regarding the work visa category, requirement and process. A work visa allows the applicant to work in New Zealand for a limited amount of time. The applicant can apply for a work visa:-

  • before travelling to New Zealand or once the applicant is already in New Zealand
  • Whether the applicant applies onshore or offshore, the applicant’s work visa may include travel conditions allowing a single entry (valid for one journey) or multiple entry (valid for more than one journey).

Temporary work visas is available for people who:

  • have a job offer from a New Zealand employer;
  • are skilled in occupations that are in demand ;
  • are coming here for a particular purpose or event;
  • want to gain work experience or work after studying in New Zealand;
  • are student and who want to work;
  • want to join a partner here and work.

I have discussed in the past regarding the study to work category and today I want to put some light on the essential skills work visa category. To obtain a work visa under essential skills work category, the applicant must meet the following requirements:-

  • If the applicant has decided to come to New Zealand to work temporarily, the applicant will probably need to apply for a work visa.

There are a number of requirements that all applicants need to meet for a work visa in New Zealand. The applicant must:

  • be in good health and of good character, and
  • have a passport that is valid for at least three months past the date the applicant are to leave New Zealand, and be genuine in wanting to work in New Zealand, and
  • Have the right visa for the applicant’s visit.

If the applicant is granted a temporary work visa, the applicant needs to meet certain conditions during the applicant’s stay:

  • the work the applicant do must be in line with the conditions specified in the applicant’s visa
  • the applicant must keep within New Zealand’s laws
  • the applicant must only stay in New Zealand for the time allowed by the applicant’s visa.

If the applicant breaks any of these conditions, they may be required to leave the country immediately.

Essential Skills Work Instructions allow people to work temporarily in New Zealand, in areas where we need people to fill shortages where New Zealanders are not available.

Essential Skills Work Instructions

Essential Skills Work Instructions have replaced General Work Instructions, under Essential Skills Instructions if the applicant have a job offer for which the applicant is suitably qualified and experienced, and:

  • the applicant has job offer is in an occupation that is on the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL) of the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL), or
  • •he applicant has job offer is from an employer who has a current approval in principle from INZ for the applicant recruitment, or
  •  Immigration NZ is satisfied there are no suitable New Zealanders available, or no New Zealanders readily able to be trained to do the job.

The applicant’s employer may need to show that the rate of pay the applicant have been offered is not less than the market rate for New Zealand workers in that occupation.

Essential Skills Work Instructions differentiate between occupations on the basis of skill level. Skill level is determined according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

The skill levels in ANZSCO range from 1 (high skilled) to 5 (low skilled). If the applicant’s occupation is within ANZSCO Skill Level 1 we may give the applicant a five-year work visa, provided the applicant’s job offer is for at least five years and the applicant’s annual salary is at least NZ$55,000.
Immigration NZ can only give the applicant a five-year visa under these instructions once, although the applicant may re-apply for a further visa for a shorter duration (up to three years). If the applicant’s application is successful and the applicant’s occupation is within ANZSCO Skill Level 4 or 5
the maximum duration of the applicant’s visa is one year.

For immigration queries please contact below


Barrister & Solicitor
Kenton Chambers Lawyers
Ph: +64 9 358 1900
Fax: +64 9 358 1903
EMAIL: raj@kentonlaw.co.nz / ashima@kentonlaw.co.nz www.kentonlaw.co.nz