• The Employer’s Guide to Sponsoring a Work Visa in NZ

    The Employer’s Guide to Sponsoring a Work Visa in NZ

NZ Visa Connections working with employers

The Employer’s Guide to Sponsoring a Work Visa in NZ

New Zealand’s borders are open, bringing opportunities for fresh, skilled workers to revive our employment industry. As an employer looking for skilled labour from overseas, sponsoring a work visa for NZ is a process you need to know.

At NZ Visa Connections, we’re experts in navigating what can seem to be a lengthy or complex journey. We’ve put together an employer’s guide to sponsoring an NZ work visa, elaborating on everything from the types of visas available to recruiting migrant employees, and becoming an accredited employer. See below to learn the basics of sponsoring an NZ work visa.

What Is an Accredited Employer?

An Accredited Employer is registered with Immigration New Zealand as having the right to employ migrants and offer the new Accredited Employer work visa. The scheme ensures businesses are viable, operate with good practices and have tried to hire New Zealanders first. This new compulsory scheme means that businesses must be accredited if they want to hire a migrant on a work visa that is specific to their company.


Accredited Employers agree to give migrant workers a comprehensive Migrant Settlement Pack in order to support them to settle in New Zealand, as well as pay at least the median New Zealand wage (although there are a few exemptions to this remuneration requirement).


New Rules for Employer Accreditation

Recruiting and retaining migrant workers can take time and effort, but the skilled labour that is available overseas is often just what Kiwi employers need in this current labour shortage crisis. Applications for the new employer accreditation scheme opened in May 2022 and has three key stages:


  1. The Employer Check
  2. The Job Check
  3. The Migrant Check


In Stage 1, the employer must demonstrate that they are in a secure financial position to operate their business. Immigration New Zealand wants to know that the employer can support migrant staff, reduce migrant exploitation, and is compliant with all legislation. If the employer is successful and receives accreditation, they will move on to the job check stage.


In the job check stage, the employer must pass the Labour Market Test (LMT), unless the job pays 200% of the median wage or is on the Green List. To pass the LMT, the employer must show that the job opening cannot be filled by a New Zealand resident or citizen. The employer must meet a range of requirements in this stage and can only move onto the last stage if they pass the job check.


The last stage is the Migrant Check, where the employer’s chosen candidate can apply for the new Accredited Employer work visa. The migrant will need to meet the health and character requirements and prove that they have the qualifications and experience for the role. They will also need to prove their identity with the necessary documents and information.

What Types of Work Visas Are There?

New Zealand has a range of work visas that allow you to work in New Zealand for a temporary period. The new Accredited Employer work visa is for migrants who have a suitable job offer here in NZ. For a migrant to be able to apply for this visa, their employer must be accredited. These visas are generally valid for 3 years and tie the worker to the employer and their specific job role.


Also available is the Working Holiday Visa, which is valid for up to 12 months or 23 months for UK or Canadian nationals. It is ideal for those wanting to use their time in Aotearoa for travel, as employees can work for several employers throughout their stay. However, employment for this type of visa must be on a non-permanent basis, so temporary contracts are necessary here. Not all countries have a Working Holiday visa scheme with New Zealand, check with us to find out more.

The Post-Study Work Visa allows students who have graduated in approved courses to work in New Zealand. If the student meets the requirements, including the health and character criteria, they may be eligible for a work visa that’s valid between 1 and three years.


Open Work visas are also available for partners of NZ residents or citizens. If the applicant has been living with their partner for less than a year, they can get a 12-month visa. Longer than a year and the visa is valid for 24 months. Essentially, Immigration NZ wants proof that the partnership is a genuine one, the couple are living together and have a shared financial life. Other visa types are available but less common, catering to those with families, investors, and businesses. These are visas that rely less on the employer and more on the migrant.


Get NZ Visa Sponsorship Advice from Experienced Advisers

Hiring overseas workers is a great way to enrich your workforce and inject some much-needed new skills into New Zealand. If you’re an employer looking to hire migrant workers, NZ Visa Connections are Licensed Immigration Advisers in New Zealand. We can help you with the process of sponsoring a New Zealand work visa. Contact us for our Accredited Employer handbook & to learn more.


NZ Visa Connections is run by Helen and Rebecca Strange, migrants who have run the New Zealand immigration gambit themselves. For professional advice that you can rely on, contact NZ Visa Connections today.