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Work to Residence Visa

What does a New Zealand Work to Residence Visa let me do?

Work to residence visa offers a simplified pathway to residence for those applicants who possess valuable skills. In addition, they must be ready to show their long-term commitment to New Zealand by staying in an acceptable skilled employment for a significant period of time.

Is New Zealand a good country to work in?

One of the top attractions of New Zealand for skilled professionals is the enviable working conditions here. The pivotal principles of fairness, justice, and equality have been ruling the employment relations for decades. These principles are being actively enforced at workplaces through ethical and sustainable work practices. 

The New Zealand Government is very serious about cultivating this renowned work culture and will go the extra mile to have New Zealand keep its well-deserved reputation as one of the most worker-friendly countries on the planet. Consequently, you may be soaking in the best working environment ever still today and in more years to come.

A visa that may bring you a step closer to your ultimate goal of settling here may be found under Work to Residence instructions. They, in fact, describe and regulate several types of visas, all providing a pathway to residence for their holders.


It is important to bear in mind that now may be the best time to apply as in 2021 the following 2 visas included in the Work to Residence instructions will be replaced by a new work visa.
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa 
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa 

Inasmuch as the instructions are still in force, we will include the descriptions of both below. We will also stand by to help if you seek assistance from our immigration adviser, since finding your way out of the paperwork maze and notorious red tape may be a tall order. 

Don’t let the grass grow under your feet – the professionals are here for you. Book your free 30-minute consultation with our immigration advisor.

What all Work to Residence visas have in common

  • They provide a pathway for residence if their conditions remain unaltered. When all the conditions of these visas are met, their holders may apply for resident visas.
  • General for all the visas is the age (55 years or younger), as well as the health and character requirements for Residence. 
  • Only partners and dependent children, but not the principal applicant in a residence application, must show their proficiency in English by providing, for example, the results of their IELTS test, or pre-purchase ESOL tuition which they can receive upon their arrival in New Zealand. 
  • Among some restrictions pertaining to how your family may join you is that, similar to most temporary visa applications, you cannot include your partner or dependent children in a Work to Residence application.
  • A solution here is for the family to apply for visas on their own, as partners or dependent children of work visa holders.
  • Currency and travel conditions are what these visas also share: 
    - the first entry is usually set for up to 3 month since the visa is issued;
    - the validity is 30 months; and
    - the holder may enjoy travelling as multiple entries are allowed.


Later on, when the residence application of a work visa holder gets the green light, the primary applicant can put their family in the same form. 

Overall, compared to other work visas, the bar is set quite high for the applicants to meet the requirements for Work to Residence ones in order to be successful. The explanation is quite straightforward, as these visas lead to residence in New Zealand and Immigration New Zealand is unlikely to approve any exceptions to instructions, like in the case with other categories of work visas.

Here is a short description of the 3 most widespread types 

(*** - to be changed in 2021) 

Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa*** 

Employer’s role is prominent

It is the employer that holds the pivotal position in this type of applications, and you would be holding their full-time employment offer for a minimum of 2 years.

This employer-led visa is a perfect match for those with the salary of at least NZ$79,560 per year and who will retain this level of pay for a period of at least 24 months. 

As suggested by the name, the employer should be accredited at the time the application is lodged. It is important to remember that all existing accreditations will stay in place until 2021. Currently there are over 1600 such entities in New Zealand, and an up-to-date list of them is available on the INZ website here.

If you are unsure how to go about securing proper employer’s support before applying, talk to our immigration advisers who will share their expertise during a free 30-minute consultation.

What do I need to include in my application when lodging it?

Quite conventional requirements for lodgement of all temporary class visas include 

  • proof of your identity and age
  • hard evidence of your bona fide status
  • police certificates, or other documents, from any country where you lived a significant amount of time; this will cover the INZ’s good character requirement
  • a medical practitioner’s opinion of your acceptable health standard

On top of those, you will be holding an offer of employment from an accredited company outlining, among other terms, the pay, the length of the employment period and your duties, as they have to be in line with the employer’s core activity.

Needless to say, you may be required by law to undergo professional registration to practice in your occupation. In this case, your case officer will need to see some more evidence. Namely, documentation confirming you have been, or are eligible and going to be, registered. On a brighter side, It may be only a matter of time before you complete it.

Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa*** 

Otherwise similar to the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa above, this type has its own special feature. Importantly, people who seek this visa will see their occupations on the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL). They will also be suitably qualified as per the requirements of the list.

How do I qualify?

Similarly to other Work to Residence visa types, when applying for a LTSSL visa you will include

  • documents confirming your identity and acceptable age, which should be 55 or younger;
  • proof that you truly intend to stay and work in New Zealand complying with all the conditions of your LTSSL visa (bona fide requirement);
  • evidence of your compliance with all the laws of all the countries you have ever lived in long enough. It may include, for example, for example, criminal record checks from the police or Ministry of Justice;
  • documentation confirming your qualification meets the necessary requirements for your proposed job, as set forth in LTSSL;
  • ditto regarding the required work experience; and, finally,
  • a sine-qua-non occupational registration, in the event it is specified in the description of your job in the list.

Finding your way through the maze of requirements to prove you are adequately qualified and have sufficient work experience, may be challenging and time-consuming. It is important to get it right from the outset to save the bitter feeling of denial. We have extensive experience in successful applications for LTSSL visas and will gladly lend a hand. Book your free 30-minute consultation with our immigration consultant today.

Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) Work Visa 

This visa may not fit everybody. However, for those with exceptional talent in a field of art, culture or sport it is what the doctor ordered.

  • In addition to the common points for all Work to Residence visas the applicants will have to check against, they must secure support of a New Zealand organisation which is either well-known in the country for its involvement, with an excellent record of achievement, in the domains of arts, culture and sports, or for rearing talent in the above fields.
  • Apart from that, those after a Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) Work Visa will show they have secured sponsorship. Their sponsor will be an acceptable person or organisation.
  • The documents list will include, among others, a completed sponsorship form and other attachments. These will demonstrate the sponsor is acceptable and the support by a New Zealand organisation of national repute is available. The applicant, of course, will have exceptional talent in the field which will benefit New Zealand. 

Our professional immigration advisor is aware of the process inside out and will eagerly help you to gain confidence and not to miss out on any minute points which may have detrimental effect on such a life-changing matter. Choose your preferred time slot and chat with us during your 30-minute, free consultation.

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Our adviser and director has been in the same boat with most of our valued clients who come to seek his counsel. He came to New Zealand as a migrant in 2002 and has been calling it home since then. It is our pleasure to serve your needs and provide professional immigration advisor services to help your dreams come true.
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