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New Zealand

Visas for New Zealand: Holidays, Working Holidays and Work Visas

Holidays and Short Stays

The following people don’t need a visa when holidaying in New Zealand: –
– UK citizens or passport holders can stay for up to 6 months
– Australian citizens and permanent residents
– Citizens from visa waiver countries can stay for up to 3 months

Prospective visitors to New Zealand who don’t fit the above criteria can apply for a 9-month visitors’ visa.

Working Holiday Visas
Working Holiday Visas give young people the opportunity to experience another culture and lifestyle.  Many of these people fall in love with New Zealand and work their way to becoming residents.

Working Holiday Visas are specially designed for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35, depending on which country you are resident in.  Not all countries are offered the Working Holiday Visa option.   If you are British or Canadian, you can apply for a 12 or a 23-month visa.  You will be able to work for a full 12 months on either visa.  Other eligible countries are offered only 12-month visas.

With a 12 and 23 month visa, you may be asked to prove you can support yourself during that time and either has an onward air ticket or enough money to buy one.  For each 12 month period, you are expected to have $4,200.  Different countries have different rules which apply to them, so go to Immigration and see if your country is listed and which rules apply.

Work Visas

Work Visa based on Job Offer – Essential Skills Work Visa
If your occupation is listed on the long-term skill shortage list, and you have been offered a job in that field, you can come and work in New Zealand for up to 30 months, and apply for residency after 2 years.

Work Visa based on Immediate Skill Shortage List
Being granted this visa means that there are no New Zealanders who are available to do the job at the moment.  This is a temporary visa and doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to apply for residency.

Canterbury Skill Shortage List
This visa was introduced following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 in Canterbury.  The aim is obviously to encourage construction workers and engineers to help rebuild the city.    You may be able to apply for residency with this visa.

Skilled Migrant Visa
If your occupation is on the Skilled Occupations list and you are under 55, you are eligible to apply for this visa.  For this visa, you must meet the English language requirement, have a medical and meet the character requirements.  The occupations are constantly changing, so check online for an up to date list before you apply.

Work Visa based on New Zealand Qualification
If you have a New Zealand qualification which was completed in New Zealand, you are eligible to apply for a work visa. Should the New Zealand government find your qualification satisfactory, you will be granted a work visa which will allow you to work in any job in any field.


John Mason International Visa and Emigration Services is an independent immigration advisory service providing information and case management support to individuals, families and businesses. Take our free New Zealand Visa Assessment.

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