The Essential Skills Work Visa allows you to work and stay in New Zealand if you have been offered a full-time job. your employer must check if any New Zealanders are available to do the work before the employer can offer you the job offer. If you are granted this work visa, you may be able to add your spouse and dependent children with your application.

With this visa you can

  • Work in New Zealand for an employer who has offered you a full-time job.
  • Study for up to 3 months in any 12-month period, or do any study required as part of your job in New Zealand.
  • Stay up to 3 years

This visa is for an individual who has required qualification and skills and been offered a full-time job.

Source: Immigration New Zealand
  • New Zealand job offer: You must have a valid full-time job offer
  • Availability of New Zealanders: No New Zealanders should be available to do the work you’ve been offered to do.
  • Qualifications and/or work experience: You must be qualified to do the work you’ve been offered by an employer
  • Occupational registration: You might need New Zealand registration
  • Not subject to stand-down period: you might not be allowed to spend 12 consecutive months outside New Zealand.
Source: Immigration New Zealand

Step 1 – You are offered full-time work in New Zealand

You must provide an ‘Employer Supplementary Form’ duly completed by your employer mentioning the job you have been offered.

The employer must also provide strong evidence that they have made all available attempts to hire New Zealanders, unless:

you have been offered a job on one of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists,

you fulfil the qualification and work experience requirements listed for your occupation,

you are applying to continue working in your current role and have applied, for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa based on your present job, or

you are submitting application for a visa to work in your present full-time position, with the same employer in New Zealand and in the same region, and you have a valid work visa (including a Working Holiday Visa), a study visa to study Masters or PhD, or a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa, or for more than 6 months as an ‘other critical worker’.

Step 2 – Apply for a work visa

Complete the paper application form and send it to Immigration New Zealand with your application fee, immigration levy, and the documents listed in the checklist on the form. You should go though following guide before you apply your visa.

Step 3 – Decision about your visa application

If there is anything else you need to do, Immigration New Zealand will be in touch.

Source: Immigration New Zealand

All applicants must provide:

  • Completed, signed INZ 1266 Essential Skills Work Visa Form
  • Appropriate application fee and levies.
  • Two passport-sized colour photographs.
  • Passport or travel document.
  • Medical and chest X-ray certificates
  • Police certificates
  • A completed Employer Supplementary Form (INZ 1113) and associated documents.
  • Evidence of qualifications relevant to the job offer.
  • Evidence of work experience relevant to the job offer.
  • Evidence that you have met or are able to meet any necessary New Zealand registration requirements.
  • Skills Match Report, completed by Work and Income, if required
Source: Immigration New Zealand

Application cost NZD$332

This is the charge for Immigration New Zealand to start processing your visa application. Immigration New Zealand does not refund application fees if your application is refused. A non-refundable immigration levy is charged and is included in the cost.

Source: Immigration New Zealand

Things to note

  • You can stay up to 3 years depending on the nature of your job
  • Immigration New Zealand has made some changes in Essential Skills visas to streamline application processing and rise visa duration.
  • From mid-2022, this visa will be replaced by the Accredited Employer Work Visa
  • Your employer may need to try to hire any appropriate New Zealanders who are available to do the work before selecting you for the job.
  • Your partner or dependent children may be able to apply distinctly for visas based on their ongoing relationship to you.
Source: Immigration New Zealand