Essential Skills Work Visa

Can I get this visa?

This visa is for people who have been offered a job by a New Zealand employer and have the required qualifications and/ or work experience to do that job.

The qualifications and/or work experience required will vary depending on the job.

You CANNOT be self-employed and hold this visa. New Zealand has other visa options for those who are looking to be self employed.

What does this visa allow me to do?

It allows you to work only in the specific occupation, for the employer and in the location specified on the visa grant letter you receive or on the visa label that will be attached to your passport.

It will be a condition of your visa that you must be paid at, or above, the amount required by the skill-band of your employment. You must also provide evidence of the amount you are being paid if an Immigration Officer asks you to.

You can also study for up to three months in any 12 month period on this visa. You may be able to undertake other studies if your employer needs you to do it as part of your employment.

How long does it last?

This visa can be granted for up to five years.

The length of the visa depends on the skill level of the job you are doing and how long you have been offered employment for. The table below sets out the maximum length of time the visa can be granted for, but if your employment contract is for a shorter period, then the visa will be granted for the length of the employment contract.

Your dependent family members may also be able to apply for this visa with you, but that also depends on the skill level of the role you are offered.

Skill BandANZSCO Skill LevelRemunerationMaximum duration of visaRenewable?Can you bring dependents?
Higher-skilledAnyNZ$35.25 per hour or higher5 yearsYesYes
Mid-skilled1 to 3NZ$19.97- NZ$35.24 per hour3 yearsYesYes
Lower-skilled4 or 5NZ$35.24 per hour or below12 monthsYes- maximum total stay 36 months*No
Lower-skilledAnyNZ$19.96 or below12 monthsYes- maximum total stay 36 months*No