Working in NZ

If you want to work in New Zealand, consider which visa opportunity best suits you. 

There are many types of work visas. Some are for short periods, of 1 to 3 years in duration, and are called temporary. Other visas are more permanent and even offer the benefits of becoming a resident. These are called resident visas.

Temporary work visas

Ideal for short term opportunities or as a starting point to experience life in New Zealand. To find out more, click here to go to the temporary work visas page.

Work to Residence visas

Special categories to experience life in New Zealand where you start qualifying for residency from day one, so you can either stay for a short time or apply to stay for as long as you like. To find out more, click here to go to the Work to Residence page.

Resident visas

For those who want to make New Zealand your permanent home. To find out more, click here to go to the resident visas page.

Helpful Tips –

  • If you don't qualify under the category you are most interested in, it is worth taking a look at the others. For instance, if you don't qualify for a visa under the resident category you could still qualify for a Work to Residence visa
  • If you have a specific question you don't see answered here, check the Knowledge Base? And
  • If that still leaves your questions unanswered, contact the nearest Immigration NZ Branch.

Temporary employment entry for skilled workers under the New Zealand - China Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

The FTA includes commitments for skilled workers from China to enter New Zealand for temporary employment, without labour market testing (but subject to specified qualifications and work experience requirements, registration if required, and the requirement for a bona fide job offer), if they work in one of the following occupations:

  • Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners
  • Chinese chefs
  • Mandarin teachers' aides
  • Wushu martial arts (including tai chi) coaches
  • Chinese tour guides.

For more information, see China Special Work Category.

In addition, a maximum of 1000 skilled Chinese workers at any one time may be granted temporary employment for up to three years, in specified occupations where New Zealand has a skills shortage. Entry is limited to no more than 100 workers in each occupation at any one time.

The list of occupations (which all have specific qualification and experience requirements) is as follows:

  • Auditor
  • Automotive Electrician
  • Boatbuilder
  • Computer Application Engineer
  • Design Engineer - Electronics / Product Engineer
  • Diesel Mechanic
  • Early Childhood Teacher
  • Electrician
  • Electronics Technician
  • Film Animator
  • Fitter and Turner
  • Fitter / Welder
  • Medical Diagnostic Radiographer / Medical Radiation Therapist
  • Motor Mechanic
  • Plumber
  • Registered Nurse
  • Senior Test Analyst
  • Structural Engineer
  • University or Higher Education Lecturer/Tutor
  • Veterinarian.

For more information, see China Skilled Workers Category.

For more information about the FTA

Working Holiday Scheme

Alongside the FTA, New Zealand has established a working holiday scheme with China. The scheme allows 1000 young, well-educated Chinese, aged 18 to 30 inclusive, to holiday in New Zealand for 12 months, and undertake some employment and study while they are here.

Successful applicants may undertake any employment except permanent employment and are not able to work for any single employer for more than three months. Applicants may enrol in one or more courses of training or study of up to three months' duration in total during their visit to New Zealand.

Applicants must:

  • have a senior high school qualification
  • have a minimum of NZ$4200 in available funds
  • prove they have functional English, by producing a certificate from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), showing they achieved an average level of 5.5 over the four components of the test, and
  • meet normal health and character requirements.

For more information on the requirements, see China Working Holiday Scheme.

Source: Immigration New Zealand