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Working in NZ for more than 3 months

Depending on your skills, where you come from, your age and other factors you may be able to work in New Zealand temporarily for more than 3 months.

Updates to visas

Immigration New Zealand has information about:

If you have skills that are needed in NZ

If you’ve been offered a job here because your employer could not find a New Zealander who’s qualified to fill the position, apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa.

How long you can stay on an Essential Skills Work Visa

Visa factsheet: Essential Skills Work Visa

You can find out if people in your occupation are needed in New Zealand by checking the lists of skill shortages.

Skill shortage list checker

Crewing on a fishing boat

If you have the skills and experience, you can apply to work for up to 12 months on a vessel that’s fishing in New Zealand waters. Before you apply, an employer must offer you work and be willing to pay some of your expenses. You can only work for that employer and must be paid at least the minimum wage plus $2 per hour.

Visa factsheet: Fishing Crew Work Visa

If you’re coming for business or a work-related event

If you qualify, you can come to New Zealand on a Specific Purpose Work Visa because you’re:

  • working at an event such as a conference
  • a sports referee, judge or coach
  • a music or dance examiner
  • coming for a short-term secondment.

If you have strong business reasons for coming here, such as being transferred here by a multi-national company, you may also be able to apply for a Specific Purpose Work Visa. Before you apply, check the types of work you can do and how long you can stay.

Specific purpose or event — types of work

Visa factsheet: Specific Purpose Work Visa

If you’ve been accepted into a work exchange scheme

You can come to New Zealnd on a Work Exchange Scheme Work Visa if you’ve been accepted into an approved scheme. You can usually stay for only 12 months, although it depends on the arrangement your employer has with Immigration New Zealand. Up to 1000 people can come to New Zealand each year on work exchange schemes.

Approved work exchange schemes

Visa factsheet: Work Exchange Scheme Work Visa

If you’re an entertainer

If you have a contract to work in the entertainment, music, film or television industries for a short time, you can apply for a work visa that covers the duration of your contract, plus a little time to get home. 

Your employer in New Zealand must support your application and show that there was no New Zealander available to do the work.

Visa factsheet: Entertainers Work Visa

If you work for a church or religious organisation

You may be able to work here for up to 2 years (or more) if you’re offered work and sponsored by a religious organisation that’s a registered charity.


You must:

  • have at least 2 years of religious work experience or training
  • work for the religious organisation that sponsors you
  • undertake work that advances the practice of that religion.

Visa factsheet: Religious Worker Work Visa

If you want to work in the wine, or fruit and vegetable industries

If you’re already in New Zealand on a visitor or student visa, you can apply to stay on for up to 6 months to do seasonal work in the viticulture and horticulture industries. You have to:

  • be over 18
  • be in a region where there is a real need for extra workers
  • work for an approved employer.

You can only work here once on this visa.

Visa factsheet: Supplementary Seasonal Employer Work Visa

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