Residence visa

There are four main categories under which you can apply for residence in New Zealand. They are as follows.

Skilled Migrant Category

Most people will apply under this category. If you have a skilled job in New Zealand, you may be eligible to apply for residence under this category. While this category has the biggest annual quota under the immigration instructions, this is probably one of the more difficult categories to be approved under, in terms of the number of requirements that you have to satisfy.

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Family Category

If you are a partner, dependent child, or a parent of a New Zealand resident or citizen, then you may be able to apply for New Zealand residence under this category. Parents in particular are regarded as low priority for Immigration New Zealand, and it could take several years for Immigration New Zealand to process the application.

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Entrepreneur Category

If you have been running a business successfully in New Zealand while holding an Entrepreneur Work Visa, Long Term Business Visa (under the old policy before it changed in March 2014), or an open work visa for a number of years, and can show to Immigration New Zealand that the business has created a significant benefit for New Zealand, then you may be eligible under this category.

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Investor Category

This category allows you to be granted with New Zealand residence quickly, if you have sufficient funds to "actively invest" in New Zealand. The investments must be put in "acceptable investments" as defined by Immigration New Zealand, which includes investing in New Zealand companies, government bonds and residential property development.

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Temporary visa

When you are in New Zealand, you must ensure that you have a lawful immigration status at all times. There are a number of temporary visa options you can choose to apply under, depending on whether you meet the purposes of the particular visa category. Broadly, there are work, student and visitor visa categories.

Work Visa (Essential Skills)

Work visas branch out to a number of sub-categories. Essential Skills policy is one of such sub-categories, which is probably the most frequently used to obtain a work visa. To apply under this category, you will need to have an offer of full time job and have relevant work experience or qualification.

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Work Visa (Partnership)

Applying for a work visa based on relationship is dependent on whether your relationship with your sponsoring partner is genuine and stable, and whether your sponsor is an "acceptable sponsor".

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Work Visa (Post Study)

When you have completed certain types of courses in New Zealand and have gained recognised qualifications, you will be able to apply for a work visa under this category. There are two types of work visas which you could apply for under this category, which are "post-study work visa (open)" and "post-study work visa (employer assisted)".

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Work Visa (Entrepreneur)

If you are wanting to run a business in New Zealand, you will need to have a work visa under this category. Formerly called Long Term Business Visa, this category has recently been revamped with tougher requirements.

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Work Visa (Religious Worker)

When applying for a work visa as a religious worker under this category, you will need to be sponsored by an organisation which is registered with the Charities Commission, and have relevant work experience or qualification.

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Student Visa

If you are wanting to undertake a course of study, you will need to have a student visa. You will need to show to Immigration New Zealand that you have been offered a place by the education provider and that you have paid the course fees. In certain circumstances, you may not need a student visa to study.

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Visitor Visa

For visitor visas, you will need to show Immigration New Zealand that your purpose of visit is lawful, can support yourself financially during your stay, and that you have made arrangements for outward travel. Some countries are classified as 'visa-waiver countries' by Immigration New Zealand which means you may not need a visitor visa to come to New Zealand.

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Other applications

Variation of Conditions

Your visa will normally be subject to certain conditions. If those conditions need to be changed, you will need to apply for a variation of conditions application to ensure that your visa remains valid.

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Approval in Principle

This is a category which employers can utilise. Having an approval in principle in place will potentially help your business reduce the downtime associated with getting visas for your staff.

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Employer Accreditation

This option is for well established businesses that have exemplary business practices. Accreditation with Immigration New Zealand will allow you to offer a package that will enable your staff to apply under the "Talent Visa" category.

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