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Work that leads to residence

If you’re 55 or younger and want to live in NZ permanently, you can apply for a resident visa, or a work visa that leads to residence after working here for 2 years.

For information about visa extensions during COVID-19, visit the Immigration NZ website.

COVID-19: Key updates — Immigration NZ

If you have skills and experience

Moving to NZ with your family

If you’re 55 or younger and work in a skilled occupation, you can apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa to live in New Zealand permanently. You can include close family members in your application.

Skilled employment

The application process has 2 stages.

  1. You put in an expression of interest which includes a tally of points based on your age, work experience, qualifications and the offer of a job.
  2. If you’re selected — applicants are chosen once a month — then you can make a full application. You usually need more than 160 points to get selected.

Points indicator for skilled migrant expression of interest

Visa factsheet: Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

If your employer’s business moves to New Zealand

If you have an important position in a business that relocates to New Zealand you and your family can apply for residence.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise must give its approval for the company you work for to operate here. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) contacts them to get approval.

To apply for an Employees of Relocating Business Resident Visa you must:

  • not be able to get another type of residence visa
  • speak English
  • have the support of the company’s owner or Chief Executive for your application.

Visa factsheet: Employees of Relocating Business Resident Visa

If you have skills and talents NZ needs

Filling NZ’s skill shortages

You can come to New Zealand if you’re 55 or younger and have:

  • skills and experience that are in short supply here — you can check these in the Long Term Skill Shortage List
  • qualifications and registration, if needed, in your area of expertise, and
  • been offered a job that:
    • uses your skills and experience
    • pays more than NZD$45,000 per year.

Skill shortage list checker

After you’ve worked here for 2 years you can apply for residence as long as your job:

  • was on the Long Term Skill Shortage List when you applied for your visa, or
  • is on the Long Term Skill Shortage List when you apply for residence.

Visa factsheet: Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa

Work based on your talents

You can apply to work here on a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa if:

  • you’re under 55
  • you have the offer of a full-time job for at least 2 years from an employer that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has accredited
  • the job pays at least NZD$79,560 per year.

You can stay for up to 30 months and apply for residence after 2 years.

Accredited Employers List

Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa

If you’ve worked in the South Island for 2 years

If you worked in the South Island for 2 years on a South Island Contribution Work Visa, you can apply for residence.

Visa factsheet: South Island Contribution Resident Visa

The South Island Contribution Work Visa is no longer offered.

If you’re an entrepreneur or innovator

If you want to run your own business

You can apply to come to New Zealand with your family to buy or set up a business if you:

  • have at least NZD$100,000 to invest in your business — if it’s a science or ICT business, you can apply to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to invest less
  • can claim 120 points on INZ’s points scale — this takes into account your age, plans for investment, business experience, how your business benefits New Zealand and where it’s located
  • can provide a plan for how your business will succeed
  • are able to speak, read and write English.

Points scale for Entrepreneur Work Visa

Business plan requirements

An Entrepreneur Work Visa gives you 12 months to set up your business and can be extended for 2 more years. You can apply for residence 6 months after the business starts if you:

  • invest at least NZD$500,000, and
  • employ 3 people or more.

Visa Factsheet: Entrepreneur Work Visa

If you get an Edmund Hillary Fellowship

If you hold an Edmund Hillary Fellowship — either as an entrepreneur or an investor — you can apply for a Global Impact Work Visa. You can stay for up to 36 months and apply for residence after 30 months.

Edmund Hillary Fellowship

Visa factsheet: Global Impact Work Visa

If you want to move to NZ from the Pacific Islands

You can apply to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely if you’re a citizen of Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga or Fiji. Before you apply you need to be successful in a ballot that is usually held in April every year.

To enter the ballot you must:

  • be aged between 18 and 45
  • have been offered a full-time job for 12 months or more, and that pays enough to support your family
  • be able to speak, read and write English.

Visa factsheet: Samoan Quota Resident Visa

Visa factsheet: Pacific Access Category Resident Visa

If you’re a religious worker

If you’re in New Zealand on a Religious Worker Work Visa, you can apply for residence if you’re 55 or younger and:

  • have at least 5 years training and experience
  • have been doing religious work here for at least 3 years
  • will continue to work for a religious organisation that’s agreed to sponsor you
  • speak English.

Visa factsheet: Religious Worker Resident Visa

Other visa options that lead to residence

You may be able to apply for residence if you’ve been working in New Zealand for 2 years on a temporary work visa.

Explore visa options for living permanently

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