Do you want to be a resident of New Zealand? Making New Zealand your permanent home is a fantastic decision. Aotearoa offers many career opportunities, diverse communities, a strong culture, and endless leisure activities.
Our stunning landscapes are among the most beautiful in the world. And Kiwis are known for their warmth and friendliness—all the more reasons to stay here! If you’d like to move and live here, we can help you by obtaining a New Zealand Resident Visa.
As migrants ourselves, we understand how it feels to come from another country, fall in love with New Zealand and want to live here forever. Therefore, we made it our mission to help you take the most viable path to New Zealand residency. Get in touch with us today.
Check out our latest blog on the key steps you can follow to achieve residence in New Zealand
Types of Resident Visas
There are many options to obtain a New Zealand resident visa and these are generally split into visas based on skilled work or on family.
Knowing the best path can be the key to your NZ residency. Here are some of the most common residence visas available:
Residence based on work
New Green List Resident Visas
Immigration New Zealand now has two new residence visas for those whose role is on the Green List. The Green List is a list of roles the New Zeland government consider are hard to fill. It is split into 2 categories – Tier 1 and Tier 2.
To qualify for either of the new residence visas associated with the Green List, you must:
- Be aged 55 or younger,
- You (and, if applicable, your partner and dependent children aged 16 or over) meet the English language requirements.
- You, your partner, and the dependent children in your application all meet the health and character requirements for residence.
- Meet the specific requirements of your role as they appear on the Green List.
Straight to Residence Visa
This exciting new visa can see you achieving residence in a matter of weeks.
You must have a job (or job offer) for a full time role on Tier One of the Green List. If there are specific requirements for that role on the list, you must meet those too.
Tier One includes roles in construction, engineering, health & social services, primary industries and science and ICT, electronics, and telecommunications.
Work to Residence Visa
If you work in a role or have the offer of a role on Tier 2 of the Green List, you can apply for the Work to Residence visa from September 2023. For this new residence option, you must be employed in a role under Tier 2 of the Green List or hold an offer of employment for one.
You’ll need to meet the specific Green List requirements for that role and also have worked for 24 months in New Zealand in the role.
The employment or job offer must be full-time, genuine and permanent. Alternatively, it must be at least a 12-month fixed-term contract.
Highly Paid Residence Visa
This visa pathway is specifically for candidates who are paid high remuneration for their work here in New Zealand. You can apply for it from September 2023.
To be eligible for this Residence visa, you must:
- Be aged 55 or younger,
- You (and if applicable, your partner and dependent children aged 16 or over), meet the English language requirements
- You, your partner, and the dependent children in your application all meet the health and character requirements for residence
- Have employment or an offer of work in a role that earns at least twice the median wage
- Have been working for 24 months in New Zealand in a role that paid at least twice the median wage
Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa
Tor recognise the important and challenging work that those in the care Sector provide the government has introduced a pathway to residence for those employed in this sector.
To be eligible for this residence visa you must:
- work in an occupation that is on the Care Workforce sector occupations list
- be paid at least NZD $28.25 an hour (level 4) of the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Act 2017
- have worked in that role at the level 4 rate for 24 months in New Zealand.
*Important note: Your employer must be accredited when you apply for any of the 4 visas above.
Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)
This residence route has historically been the main way workers have applied for residence. It is a points-based system with points awarded in a number of categories including age, qualifications, work experience and skilled full-time job or job offer. You cannot apply for this visa if you are over 55 and you must have a skilled job or the offer of one.
This category has been on pause for many months but is now reopened. It will be reviewed and changed in early 2023 but is available for application under strict criteria until then. Please read more below.
The SMC process has several steps. First an Expression of Interest (EOI) is lodged with Immigration New Zealand. If this EOI has at least 180 points then the EOI is selected and undergoes a basic initial assessment. If this initial assessment is successful then Immigration New Zealand issue an Invitation to Apply (ITA). At this point, applicants have 4 months to submit the full application together with all the documents and evidence to prove the points they have claimed.
All those included in the applicant must show they have suitable English language skills by passing an English Language Test (IELTS or similar) and this applies to all applicants aged 16+ years of age.
A skilled job must be full time and pay at least $27.76/hour OR $40.50/hr if it is considered low skilled (skill level 4 or 5 on ANZSCO). All applicants must be qualified to do their job either by qualifications or long enough previous skilled work experience. It is possible to claim points for a partner also, with points being available for their skilled job of job offer and any tertiary qualification they may hold.
Reopening of SMC
The selection of EOI’s will restart from November 2022. There will be the following selections –
- 18th January 2023 – From this date you must have 180 points or more for your EOI to be selected.
- 15th February 2023 onwards – Selections of EOI’s with at least 180 points continue each month on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.
These selections will continue until the Skilled Migrant Category visa is fully reviewed, which will be approx. April / May 2023. The new version of this visa will have a different points system, which is not yet confirmed. Talk to us to learn more about the plans for these new criteria and how you can plan to be ready.
You can apply for any of these work based resident visas from outside New Zealand or if you are already here.
Gaining your New Zealand residency through these pathways means you can permanently make a life for yourself in New Zealand. At the same time, New Zealand employers and businesses also benefit from acquiring your skill set and experience.
You may be able to apply for residence as the partner of a New Zealander or even as the parent. These all come under the Family Category and the changing rules in this area can be complicated.
As licensed immigration advisers, we can explain your options and help you in many other ways. Talk to us, and we’ll walk you through your options.
Many investor and business visas can lead to permanent residence. Check out our investor page for more details.
Get in touch
Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.