This page outlines the processes for getting Residence through working for an employer. If you’re an investor or an entrepreneur, the rules are slightly different, so please check out our Business immigration information or visit MoveList.com to get in touch with specialists in the field of entrepreneur and business visas. If you are living offshore and you want to contact visa and immigration specialists you can also visit MoveList.com to find the best providers.
If you live in New Zealand and you want assistance with your residence visa visit Working In Visas and we will be able to assist. In the meantime read below for more information on becoming a resident!
The New Zealand Government sets a higher bar for Resident visas than it does for temporary ones, so they take longer and cost more. But they also provide much greater benefits. If you really want to live like a local, this is hands-down the best option.
Permanent Residency has an intermediate phase, called – simply – Residency. The only difference is that Resident visas often come with travel restrictions, limiting the frequency and period in which you can enter and exit New Zealand.
After you’ve held a Resident visa for at least two years, and met all its conditions, you can apply for a Permanent Resident visa. With this, you’ll be able to come and go as you please, access most government services and – after a year – vote in public elections. The only thing better than this is citizenship, which you’ll need if you want to run for public office or try out for – say – the All Blacks. Also, Permanent Resident visas do not protect you from deportation, nor entitle you to consular protection by the New Zealand government.
There are two main ways to get a Resident visa:
|Skilled Migrant visa
For people who have skills which are in short supply, and – ideally – a job offer in New Zealand
|Work to Residence visa
For people with skills that New Zealand needs, and who also have a job offer from an accredited employer
If you are applying for a Skilled Migrant Visa and you are offshore, go to MoveList.com to find immigration and visa agents that can help you apply for residence.
If you’re a “skilled migrant” it means you’ve got skills or qualifications that are officially recognised as being in short supply by the New Zealand Government. They keep a list of such skills, here (PDF) and a more interactive one here. It helps enormously if you’ve got a job offer that uses those skills.
If you think this is for you, you first need to submit an Expression of Interest to New Zealand Immigration. This requires you to profile yourself in terms of skills, family, health and character and so on. You can start and complete the Expression of Interest without all the supporting documentation.
If your expression of interest is accepted, Immigration New Zealand then invites you to make a formal application. That’s when you’ll need all your supporting evidence and documentation. We’ll help you through it.
This is a slightly faster channel, but also sets a slightly higher bar, than Skilled Migrant visas.
There are two differences.
First, in addition to having skills which New Zealand needs, you also need a job offer from an employer who’s accredited with New Zealand Immigration. Being accredited means they’ve met minimum best practice and ethical standards in international employment.
Second, if you have a job with an accredited employer, you could apply for a Permanent Resident visa without having to submit an Expression of Interest, as long as you’d held a Resident visa for at least two years, and – of course – met all its conditions.
Regardless of whether you apply through the Skilled Migrant Category, or through Work to Residency, you’ll be much, much more likely to succeed if you apply with the support of a licensed immigration advisor. Find out more about licensed immigration advisors.
If you want to be supported and have more certainty around your outcome use an immigration agency. If you are offshore, go to MoveList.com to find immigration and visa agents that can help you apply for residence.