There is a special pathway you can use to get a resident visa, which would not involve a Skilled Migrant visa application. This special plan is called Residence from Work. It allows you to ‘convert’ your work visa to residence within 24 months if you hold a special visa designed for that. Residence from Work is a good workaround for those who would not qualify under a Skilled Migrant Category or cannot score enough points.
There are 3 main streams you can use:
- Job offer from an accredited employer
- Employment in the Long Term Skills shortage list
- Special talent in Art or Sport
All of these visas are granted for 30 months. Once you’ve been on a Work to Residence visa for over 2 years (and meet all other requirements as below), you can lodge your residence application.
Job offer from an accredited employer
If you have skills or expertise and have been offered full-time work by an accredited employer, then you may be eligible for this visa. This visa can help set you on the pathway to New Zealand residence by allowing you to work here.
The list of accredited employers is listed on Immigration New Zealand website – see here.
- hold a full-time offer of employment for a period of at least 24 months in New Zealand from an accredited employer
- your offer has to meet the minimum base salary of NZ$79,560 (the minimum base salary excludes employment-related allowances, for example, overtime, tool or uniform allowances, medical insurance, accommodation, etc)
- you must be aged 55 years or under
- you must meet the health and character requirements for Residence
- you must meet other basic visa requirements
The main advantage of this visa is that your employer DOES NOT need to prove that there are no New Zealanders available for the job. You also DO NOT need to meet strict qualification and experience requirements.
If your employer loses accredited employer status after you’re granted a work visa, you can:
- work for another accredited employer
- apply for a variation of conditions, which if approved would allow you to work for an employer who is not an accredited employer. For INZ to approve your variation of conditions, your new employer would need to pay you at least NZ$79,560 a year (before tax).
Employment in the Long Term Skills shortage list
This visa offers a pathway to New Zealand residence. To apply, you’ll need to have the specified work experience, qualifications and occupational registration to work in an occupation on our Long Term Skill Shortage List, and an offer for work in that occupation. If you continue working in that occupation in New Zealand for 2 years, you can apply for residence.
To be granted a visa under the Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Instructions applicants must:
- hold an offer of employment with a minimum base salary of NZ$45,000 per annum in an occupation that is included on the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) at the time that their application is made and that meets the specifications for that occupation; and
- be suitably qualified by training and/or experience to undertake the offer of employment (including any specific requirements set out on the LTSSL); and
- be aged 55 years or under; and
- meet the health and character requirements for Residence; and
- meet other basic immigration instructions
Please note that your full-time (30+hours) offer of employment must be for a period of at least 24 months. It will have to be accompanied by evidence of full or provisional registration, or eligibility for such registration, if full or provisional registration is required by law to take up the offer (ie if you are a doctor) and compliant with all relevant employment law in force in New Zealand.
Disclaimer: information provided in this article is not immigration advice. For a full consultation, please, contact a licensed immigration advisor.