Applying for a work visa
If you're planning to work in New Zealand and you're not a citizen or permanent resident of NZ or Australia, you'll need a visa that lets you work.
For information about visa extensions during COVID-19, visit the Immigration NZ website.
Who needs a visa
You can apply for a visa to work here temporarily if you:
- have a job offer from a New Zealand employer
- are coming for a specific work-related purpose or event
- have a partner here, and you want to join them and work
- are from a country that has a special work scheme, or
- have been studying here and want work here.
Some work visas can also lead to residence — that is, the right to live, study and work here indefinitely. To apply you need to have skills, experience and qualifications that are needed for the New Zealand workforce.
If you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident you can work, live and study in New Zealand — you’ll get a resident visa when you arrive in New Zealand.
Choosing the right visa
There are more than 80 visas that let you work in New Zealand. Before you apply, decide which visa is right for you.
Find out how much it costs to apply, where to send your application or your passport, and how long it will take to get your visa.
Before you apply
You need to gather information about yourself and your plans for your time in New Zealand. What you need to provide depends on the visa you apply for. For all visas, you need to provide proof of your identity and good character. You may also need to provide information about your health.
For many visas you need to find a job in New Zealand first.
Check the criteria for the visa you’re applying for. If you do not provide all the documents you’re asked for, your application takes longer to process.
Proving your identity and good character
You have to provide a photo, passport and other identity information.
Depending on the visa you’re applying for and how long you intend to stay in New Zealand, you have to provide police certificates from countries you’ve lived in for more than 5 years since you turned 17. These help to prove that you’re of good character.
Getting medical certificates
Depending on how long you’re staying here and where you’re from, you may have to provide medical certificates or get a chest X-ray from a doctor approved by Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
Translations of documents into English
If you have to provide police or medical certificates and they’re not in English, you need to provide certified translations. INZ can also ask you to provide translations of any other documents that are not in English.
English translations must be done by:
- the translation service of New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA)
- an embassy or high commission, or
- a private or official translation business.
Translations cannot be done by:
- you — that is, the person applying for the visa
- a member of your family
- an immigration adviser helping with your application.
How to apply
You can apply online for most work visas. There are a few visas that you need to fill in a printed application form for, including some country-specific work visas.
For most work visas, you need to set up a New Zealand Government RealMe account before you start your application.
You do not need a RealMe account if you’re applying for:
- a working holiday visa, or
- a Silver Fern Job Search Visa.
Before you start your online application, have all your supporting documents ready to upload.
Getting a tax number
Once you have your visa, apply for an IRD number from Inland Revenue. You give this number to your employer when you start work and use it for all your New Zealand tax matters.