Specific Purpose Work Visa

This visa allows an individual to go to New Zealand for a specific purpose or event, and to work for a designated employer for that specific purpose or event. How long you will be able to stay in New Zealand on this visa depends on the nature and duration of the specific purpose that your application will be based on.

Examples of a typical ‘specific purpose or event’ include, but are not limited to:

  • a temporary, short-term secondment to a New Zealand-based company or subsidiary of your employer
  • attendance at an event or exhibition as a competitor, referee, judge or coach
  • travel to New Zealand in order to install or perform maintenance of a piece of specialised machinery
  • citizens of the Philippines travelling to New Zealand in order to seek occupational registration as a nurse

Who can apply for a Specific Purpose Work Visa?

In order to submit an application for a Specific Purpose Work Visa, an individual should:

  • Be intending to travel to New Zealand for a specific purpose or specific event
  • Be able to demonstrate that they will leave New Zealand once their specific purpose or event has concluded
  • Have sufficient personal funds for their accommodation and maintenance while they are in New Zealand, or be able to show that they have sufficient guarantees or sponsorship by someone in New Zealand
  • Meet New Zealand’s standard good health and character requirements for visa applications

Some ‘specific purposes’ have their own separate visa types which may be more appropriate for certain applicants. For example:

  • If you are intending to work in the entertainment industry, you may need an Entertainers Work Visa
  • If you are intending to work at an arts or music festival, or as part of a ‘high-end’ musical act, you may need an Arts and Music Festival Visitor Visa or High End Music Act Visitor Visa
  • If you are a tour guide from China, you will need a China Special Work Visa

What does a Specific Purpose Work Visa offer?

Specific Purpose Work Visas give successful applicants the right to travel to and work in New Zealand for the duration of the specific purpose or event that they have used as a basis for their application. The precise amount of time the visa will be valid for is dependent on the length of the specific purpose or event.

The time you can typically stay in New Zealand to complete your specific purpose or event is detailed in the following table:

Specific purpose or event How long you can stay
Senior or specialist business people on short-term secondments 12 months
Business people being transferred from one part of a multinational company to another in New Zealand 3 years
Business visitors who need to stay in New Zealand for more than 3 months for business reasons 12 months
Investors who have applied for residence and want to investigate investment opportunities 12 months
Sports referees and people in New Zealand to judge a show, display or exhibition For the length of your engagement – not usually more than 6 months
Dance and music examiners For the time needed to conduct the exams – not usually more than 6 months
Installers and services of specialised machinery or equipment 3 months
Sports players and professional coaches If you’ll be coaching at a national or regional level, up to 3 years; otherwise, 12 months.
Philippines nurses seeking occupational registration Up to 3 months
Other For the time it takes to carry out the specific purpose or event – not usually more than 6 months

You are not able to bring your partner or dependent children to New Zealand on the basis of this visa. However, it might be possible for them to accompany you on their own visas based on their relationship to you.

How do I apply for a Specific Purpose Work Visa?

Once you have sufficient details of the specific purpose or event you intend to participate in, you can apply for this visa online or, alternatively, on paper via a Visa Application Centre.

Once you have provided all your personal details and supporting information, there is a non-refundable fee to process your application which can be between NZD $40 and NZD $735 depending on your nationality. In-person applications may cost more due to the additional handling fees charged by Visa Application Centres.

You can usually expect to receive a decision on your application within four weeks. Typically, about 80% of applications for this visa are processed within that time.

Mohamed Anas Sirajur Raheem

BA (Political Studies), LLB (VUW)

Mohamed is an enrolled Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, specializing in immigration law.

He is a former New Zealand Immigration Officer (Visa Services) and Border Officer at Auckland International Airport. He has several years of experience working in various Government Departments in New Zealand and has also worked as a Licensed Immigration Adviser at a prominent New Zealand Immigration firm.

His areas of expertise and interest are in the fields of General Skilled Migration, Temporary Work (Long and Short Stay), Business visas, Partner, Parent and Child Visa streams.

Mohamed was inspired to pursue a career in immigration by his own migration experiences. Over the years he has assisted individuals, families, large corporations, Professional sportspeople, and Entertainers (singers, speakers, and actors) to come to New Zealand.

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