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    New Zealand Resident Visas

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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 New Zealand 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:

New Zealand Residence based on work

Green List Resident Visas

Immigration New Zealand now has residence visas for those whose role is on the Green List. The Green List is a list of roles the New Zealand 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.

Read more about Straight to Residence visas for Doctors on our guest blog from Good Together, a New Zealand based medical recruitment agency that supports international doctors with the full process of relocating to our shores

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.

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.

Transport Work to Residence Visa

Tor recognise the difficulty in filing transport roles in NZ,  the government has introduced a pathway to residence for those employed in this sector too.

To be eligible for this residence visa you must:

  • worked in a work to residence transport role for 24 months
  • met the requirements of the role when you apply for the visa.

What are the Transport Roles?

There are 8 identified roles and each of these has its own requirements. These roles are:

  • bus driver
  • truck driver
  • aircraft refueller
  • furniture removalist
  • tanker driver
  • tow truck driver
  • ship’s master
  • deck hand

Check with us to see if your job could qualify you for this visa.

Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)

The Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) is a key residence route for skilled workers who are either already working in NZ or have a job offer in a skilled role. It is a points-based system with points awarded in a number of categories.

This category was reviewed in 2023 and the new visa system opens for applications from 9th October 2023.

All applicants must have a job offer for, or current employment in, a role with an Accredited Employer that is paid at least:

  • the median wage for occupations classified at ANZSCO skill level 1-3, or
  • 5 times the median wage for occupations classified at ANZSCO skill level 4-5.

and is

  • for at least 30 hours per week
  • on a permanent contract or fixed-term contract for at least 12 months.

The current median wage is $29.66.

 

How are points available?

You can claim 3 to 6 points from your:

  • New Zealand occupational registration
  • qualification (Bachelor’s degree or higher), or
  • income from your job or job offer if you are earning at least 1.5 times the median wage in New Zealand

 

You can only claim points from 1 of the above skill indicators only – this means you cannot combine points from multiple skill indicators. For example, you cannot combine points from your qualification with points from your New Zealand occupational registration.

You can also claim 1 point for each year of skilled work in New Zealand, up to a maximum of 3 points and these can be combined with points from your New Zealand occupational registration, qualification or income to reach the required 6 points.

 

SMC points System

 

Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa

If you apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa and your current temporary visa expires while your application is being processed, you will be granted a Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa. Your Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa will come into effect the day after your current visa expires.

 

This will allow you to stay in New Zealand while your Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa is processed. You will also be able to travel in and out of New Zealand on your Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa.

 

Any conditions that apply to your current visa will apply to your Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa. You will not be able to apply for another temporary visa once you are on a Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa.

 

The Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa will expire the soonest of:

  • 24 months after the start date
  • the date your residence visa is approved, or
  • if the residence visa application is declined or withdrawn, 2 months after the decision is made on your residence application.

 

You can apply for any of these work based resident visas from outside or inside New Zealand.  

Your employer (or potential employer) must be accredited when you apply for any of the visas above.

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.

 

Family Category

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.

Investor/Business Residence

Many investor and business visas can lead to permanent residence. Check out our investor page for more details.

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  • "Overall, my experience with NZ Visa Connections has been very pleasant and enjoyable. They provided me with the peace of mind and confidence that everything will be sorted, and that my visa application was in very good hands. The team was very efficient, organized, and “on-the-ball” on all immigration policies and requirements. The weekly video chats to check on the progress of my “paper trail” was very helpful. It was a very professional engagement with a personal touch. "

    Jessica Misa Baird, Work Visa Support

  • "My experience has truly been nothing short of easy and amazing. NZ Visa Connections has been thorough since the inception of our relationship. Understanding the ins and outs of the process has been overwhelming and not always easy to follow. But, they've been transparent, calming and honest during an otherwise difficult to navigate process. The team goes above and beyond and it's very evident they are passionate about the work that they do."

    Ashley Bent, Work Visa Support

  • "Outstanding work from NZ Visa Connections in regards to helping our company secure visas for two of our key staff members. These two wonderful ladies have gone above and beyond for our company. Rebecca was the case manager for two of our staff members and  she worked exceptionally hard to renew their visas on the 11th hour. I was so impressed with her amazing ability to make things happen with such a positive outcome. "

    Lee Dewerson, Employer / Business services

  • "We first meet NZ Visa Connections back in 2017 when we were looking for an advisor to apply for Reon's first work Visa, We have continued to work with NZ Visa Connection ever since. With that said we have found them to be very professional throughout this process and have been Successful with our application for Reon Visas. Reon and myself would have no problem with recommending NZ Visa Connection to any person who needed Visa advice. "

    Ross & Reon Laird, Work Visa Support

  • "I was very nervous about trying to employ an international applicant, but NZ Visa Connections helped me employ the perfect person for our team, even making suggestions so we could apply for a 3-year Visa straight away. They assisted and supported me every step of the way, from helping with the advertisement to preparing Visa application documents, through to procuring the visa’s required for our employee. They were knowledgeable and eminently capable, and I would have no hesitation referring them to any other business thinking about hiring internationally."

    Lisa Coleman, Employer / Business services

  • "NZ Visa Connections basically took the stress out of my work and residence visa applications. I honestly feel so lucky to have found them in the first place --through my sister's colleague's recommendation. They were as amazing to work with as what we heard about them. The whole process was already quite streamlined for us (my partner and I). We simply had to follow through a well-defined checklist with details like: the importance of a specific document, suggestions and prompts for letters and other write up. It was very clear to us that they are the expert we needed."

    Donna Dychinco, Residence Visa support

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