If you've ever dreamt of working among the friendly Kiwis and the stunning landscapes of New Zealand, this guide is your first step toward making that dream a reality. New Zealand is increasingly becoming a go-to destination for Americans and Canadians seeking employment opportunities abroad. But what is it about this distant land that's drawing in such a large crowd of expatriates?
New Zealand has a thriving job market, with an unmatched number of opportunities available across many industries. There's almost always a place for you in the Kiwi workforce, whether you're an IT specialist, healthcare professional, or educator. New Zealand’s commitment to growth and innovation provides Canadian and American expatriates with a dynamic work environment that encourages progress and fosters their unique talents.
New Zealand, with its large and stable economy, is ranked among the freest economies in the world. This offers a stable platform to businesses and individuals so that they can thrive in their respective fields. This economic stability also translates into job security, ensuring competitive salaries and career growth for those who choose to come and work in New Zealand.
Moreover, it's not just about work in New Zealand. From the majestic mountain ranges of South Island to the pristine beaches of North Island, there's no shortage of breathtaking sights to explore during your downtime. Imagine finishing a day's work and heading straight into the mountains for a hike or a swim in the ocean.
In this blog, we'll dig deep into the types of New Zealand work visas that you can get as an American or Canadian. We'll also provide a complete guide on the required documentation to help make the application process convenient for you.
Understanding the types of New Zealand work visas is very important if you're considering pursuing a career in New Zealand. Each visa category has its own set of requirements, eligibility criteria, and validity. Let's take a look at some of these major visa types that you can get from New Zealand, as an American or Canadian.
Essential Skills Work Visa
This visa type is for professionals who have a full-time job offer from a New Zealand employer for a role that cannot be filled by a local. This visa’s duration varies from 1 to 5 years, depending on the job’s skill level and the pay rate. You'll need to present your contract of employment and prove your relevant qualifications or experience in order to qualify for the Essential Skills work visa.
Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
The Skilled Migrant Category Resident visa is for skilled workers who want to live and work in New Zealand on a permanent basis. You'll need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) detailing your employment, skills, and category-related experience. You are highly likely to be invited to apply for New Zealand residency if your EOI scores enough points based on factors like age, work experience, and qualifications. The processing time can be anywhere between a few weeks to several months, but it is worth the wait for permanent residency in a country like New Zealand.
Work to Residence Visa
The Work to Residence Visa allows you to work in New Zealand for a government-approved employer for 2 years. You can apply for a resident visa after the 2 years period has passed. You’ll still need a long-term or permanent job offer from an approved company, and meet the basic health requirements set by the New Zealand government.
Post-study Work Visa
Students who have completed a qualification in New Zealand and want to gain work experience in a related field can apply for a Post-study work visa. This visa type has a duration between 1 to 3 years and allows the visa holder to work for any New Zealand-based employer.
Working Holiday Visa
The Working Holiday Visa offers a unique opportunity for applicants aged 18-30 (or slightly older in some cases), to travel and work in New Zealand for a period of up to 12 months. This duration is increased to 23 months for Canadian citizens. However, you'll need to prove that your primary reason for travel is vacation, with finding work in New Zealand being a secondary intention.
New Zealand has a variety of visa options for you, whether you're a skilled professional, a recent graduate, or a young traveler. We will be discussing the documents required for these visa types in the next section to give you a general idea of what documents you need to keep handy for your immigration process.
As with any other immigration process, you will need to prepare all of your required documents for a work visa to New Zealand. You can easily secure your desired work visa if you are well-prepared and meet all of the immigration requirements.
You will obviously need a valid passport before you begin applying for the visa. Here it must be kept in mind that your passport’s validity should last at least 3 months longer than your intended period of stay in New Zealand. The Globeia team recommends keeping a digital copy of your passport, as it will help with online submissions.
Visa Application Form
You'll need to complete an application form which will vary depending on your preferred visa type. These forms can be found online on the New Zealand Immigration website and you should take your time while filling them out to ensure that there are no mistakes.
Job Offer Letter
A job offer from a New Zealand employer is compulsory for the Essential Skills, Skilled Migrant Category, and the Work to Residence visas. It is important that your job offer letter includes important details like the job title, your list of responsibilities, salary, and the expected duration of employment.
Proof of Qualifications and Work Experience
Evidence of relevant qualifications and work experience related to your job offer will be required for most of the New Zealand work visa types. This proof can come in the form of academic transcripts, diplomas, job references, or simply a CV.
Medical Clearance Certificates
New Zealand has pretty strict health standards that all immigration applicants need to meet for their application to be accepted. You may need to undergo a complete health checkup in Canada or the U.S and provide a clearance certificate along with your visa application.
Police certificates are a part of every country’s immigration process. Similarly, for New Zealand, you will need to provide criminal record check certificates from countries that you've lived in for more than 12 months over the course of the last 10 years.
Proof of Maintenance Funds or Sponsorship
You need to show that you have sufficient funds to maintain yourself during your stay or that you have an acceptable sponsor, in case of the Working Holiday and similar Visas.
NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority)
You don't need a traditional visa for visits less than 3 months if you are from Canada or the United States. Alternatively, you must apply for an NZeTA, which is way easier and has a very fast approval time.
Getting all of these documents ready can take time, so starting early is always going to help you get your visa faster. Keep separate folders for the original documents and their copies. You will also need to prepare scanned copies of your documents for the online application forms.
Now that you have understood the different New Zealand work visa types that are available to you, it is finally time to start the application process. We have listed out all of the major steps involved in applying for a New Zealand work visa from Canada and the U.S.
Choosing a Visa Type
First off, choose a visa type from the list mentioned above. You might not be eligible for some of these visas or you might need a longer duration depending on your plans. It is always a good idea to compare your qualifications, job offer status, and long-term plans with each visa type’s requirements before you decide to go with one of the options.
Gathering the Required Documents
Have you chosen a visa type that best suits your plan? Perfect!. Now, it’s time to prepare the necessary documents relevant to your selected visa. The basic requirements include a valid passport, a properly filled-out visa application form, a job offer letter (for some visa types), qualifications and work experience proof, medical and police clearance, and also proof of maintenance funds or sponsorship.
Most New Zealand visa applications can be completed online, providing quicker and more affordable processing as compared to paper submission. You'll need to begin by creating an account on the New Zealand Immigration website, followed by filling out your chosen visa application form, before finally uploading the required documentation.
Paying the Application Fee
You'll need to pay the application fee towards the end of the submission. The fee must be paid via a credit card. You will need to take a look at the New Zealand immigration’s pricing page for up-to-date information on fees, as they tend to change.
Waiting for Visa Processing
Your application will undergo processing after all of the requirements have been completed. The New Zealand immigration will review your application and make a final decision during this time. The exact processing times can be different for each application, but you can generally expect to hear back from the immigration authority within 1-2 months.
Providing Additional Information (if required)
You may be asked to provide some missing documents (if any) or any important additional information in some cases. You might also be invited for an interview with an immigration officer. We would suggest you prepare in advance for your interview and watch preparation videos online to get a general idea of how the interview will be conducted.
Receiving your Visa
You'll receive your visa a couple of weeks after your application is approved. The visa will detail the conditions of your stay, including the length of time you can live and work in New Zealand and any travel restrictions, if applicable.
Moving to New Zealand
Now, it is time to finally book your tickets and move to New Zealand. It is best to arrange accommodation in advance, open a bank account, and familiarize yourself with local customs and laws.
And so this way, each step has brought you closer to starting a new life in New Zealand. Before you go, do take a look at this list of common mistakes that the Globeia team has prepared for you:
Overlooking Occupation Classification
The New Zealand immigration uses a system called the ANZSCO (Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) to classify occupations into a list. We’d recommend ensuring that your job role and duties match with an occupation listed in ANZSCO as misclassification can cause rejection of your visa application.
Skipping the Labour Market Test
The Essential Skills work visa and other skilled visa types require employers to conduct a Labour Market Test before they can hire someone from another country. This test is used to prove that there are no New Zealanders available to do the job that you are being hired for.
Errors in the Expression of Interest (EOI) Submission
The first step for the Skilled Migrant Category visa is submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI. Rushing this stage, making errors, or leaving important details out can lead to not getting a visa application invitation.
Not Preparing for Your Visa Interview
You may need to give a visa interview if your EOI submission is accepted. We would recommend you to prepare with a proper guide or seek help from a professional to assist you in your interview preparation. Make sure that you're ready to showcase your skills, experience, and reasons for wanting to immigrate to New Zealand.