Essential Skills Work Visa NZ


This category allows New Zealand employers to connect with overseas (non-residents) talents using essential skills work visa if the positions that they are offering cannot readily be filled by the local workforce (New Zealand citizens or residents).

Immigration New Zealand in administering these instructions must, however, ensure that New Zealand workforce is not likely to be displaced from employment opportunities. As there are appropriate checks in place for that purpose, you will need to demonstrate that you have cleared all the hoops and hurdles.

You will need to satisfy each of the following requirements:

  • meet general requirements; and
  • meet work experience/qualification requirements; and
  • meet labour market requirements; and
  • meet employer requirements.

Let's take a look at each of them in turn.

General requirements

General requirements include paying correct application fee, using prescribed Immigration New Zealand form, meeting health/character requirements, and being a 'bona fide' (genuine) applicant.

Work experience/qualification requirements

You must be suitably qualified by training and experience to undertake the position on offer. Immigration New Zealand uses Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (known as 'ANZSCO') to establish what kind of work experience and/or qualification is required for a particular occupation. You will have to meet the requirements as per the ANZSCO description for the essential skills work visa.

Labour market check requirements

Your employer must have made a "genuine attempt" to attract and recruit suitable New Zealand citizens or residence visa holders and must have established that there are no suitable New Zealand citizen or resident applicants before deciding to offer you the position. If the vacancy was advertised, the requirements stipulated must be those necessary to perform the work, and the terms of employment must not be less than those of the New Zealand market, including the rate of pay being within market range for the occupation.

Employer requirements

All offers of employment must be genuine and sustainable, and the employer must be compliant with relevant New Zealand employment and immigration laws. If an employer employs people who do not have the appropriate authority to work for that employer in New Zealand, the employer may be liable for prosecution under s350 of the Immigration Act 2009.

Get advice

Many issues that you were not aware of could surface when you lodge an Essential Skills work visa application, so it will be worth getting proper advice and guidance from the beginning.