Guide to the Essential Skills Work Visa

If you have been offered a full-time job, and you have the necessary qualifications and experience to work in that job, you can apply for a temporary visa to work in New Zealand. Unless you are staying with the same employer and in the same role and region, your employer must have checked if any New Zealanders were available to do the work, before offering you the job. If the applicant is granted this visa, he/she may be able to support visa applications for your partner and dependent children.

The Job Offer

The job offer must:

  • be current at the time you apply for your visa
  • be for full-time work

You must provide a copy of your employment agreement as evidence of your job offer. The employment agreement must include:

  • your employer’s name and contact details
  • your name and contact details
  • your job title
  • the address for your place of work
  • the kind of work you’ll be doing and your responsibilities at work
  • details of any necessary qualifications or work experience
  • information about whether you’ll need New Zealand registration to do the work
  • how long the work will be for
  • how long you have to take up the job offer
  • pay and work conditions that comply with New Zealand employment law.

Your employment agreement must be with an employer who has a history of compliance with immigration and employment law.

Important to Note!
  • The employer cannot pay the applicant less than they’d have to pay a New Zealander to do the work
  • The job offer can’t be for work planting, maintaining, harvesting or packing crops in the horticulture or viticulture industries
  • If a labour hire company has offered the applicant work in the construction sector in Canterbury, the labour hire company must be accredited
  • The applicants dependent children can apply for visas to study in New Zealand if the applicant will be earning at least $43,322.76

Availability of New Zealander’s

Your employer must also provide evidence they have made genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders, unless:

  • you have been offered a job on one of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists and you meet the qualification and work experience requirements listed for your occupation
  • you are applying to keep working in your current role and have been invited to apply, or have applied, for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa based on your current employment, or
  • you are applying for a visa to work in your current full-time role, with the same employer and in the same region, and you have a work visa (including a Working Holiday Visa), a student visa to study Masters or PhD degree (which has unlimited work rights), or a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa either for a critical health worker, or for more than 6 months as an ‘other critical worker’.

Your employer’s evidence can include:

  • website and newspaper advertisements
  • records of engaging with a recruitment company
  • a Skills Match Report from Work and Income New Zealand — your employer must supply this if the work they are offering you will pay below the median wage
  • the outcome of their recruitment efforts.

Additionally, the applicant must provide a ‘Employer Supplementary Form’ completed by the employer. This contains information such as the employment agreement, the position details and evidence as to why the New Zealander’s considered for this role were not suitable. You can view this form here.

Qualifications and Experience

The qualifications and/or experience you need are listed by occupation in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).  Evidence of qualifications can include:

  • original or certified copiesof your qualifications
  • evidence the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) recognises your qualification.

Evidence of experience can include documents that show:

  • the work that you did
  • the dates you did the work
  • how many hours a week you worked (on average)
  • the contact details for your employer or employers
  • how your work experience relates to the work you’ve been offered in New Zealand.

Check the specific qualifications and experience needed for your occupation by searching the occupation here.

ANZSCO Version 1.2- Australian Bureau of Statistics

Occupational Registration

If registration is required to work in your occupation in New Zealand, you must provide either:

  • a certified copy of your full or provisional New Zealand registration
  • confirmation from the appropriate registration body that you’re eligible for New Zealand registration.

Important to Note! You do not have to provide these if you are applying for an Essential Skills visa to work in the same full-time role you currently hold, with the same employer and in the same region, and you make a declaration in your visa application form (INZ 1266) that you hold the required registration.

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