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Work Permits

New Zealand - Work Permits

Those who have been granted a residency visa do not need to apply for a separate work permit as the visa will allow you to work. However, those who do not qualify for a residency visa can still obtain a temporary work permit which could allow them to apply for residency at a later date. There are a number of categories of applicants who could qualify for a work permit. These include those who have an offer of employment from a company in New Zealand, those who are coming to the country for a specific event for which you will need to work, students or trainees who want to spend some time in the country or those who already have a partner in the country who is working. There are also work permit options for those who want to begin their own business. The categories are listed on the New Zealand Immigration website.

In order to apply for a temporary work permit for New Zealand you need to be in good health, not have a criminal record in your home country and ensure that your passport still has at least three months left to run after your planned final date in New Zealand.

Those who are granted a work visa will need to be sure that the work they do is in line with any restrictions placed on the visa, that they do not break any laws while they are in the country and that they do not remain in the country after the last date allowed on their visa. If any of these conditions are broken you may be deported back to your home country.

There are also certain requirements for different categories of applicants. Those who have a job offer but the employment does not fall into the category of a specialist worker will only be granted a permit if the employer can prove that a New Zealander cannot do the job. Students will need to prove that the work experience is essential to their study before they will be granted a work permit. Other students may be able to get a work permit if they study in the country first then intend to remain to seek work. Skilled nationals from a number of Asian countries may be able to obtain a work permit for specific categories of skilled professions.

When applying for the visa you should do so as early as possible as the permits can take a while to be approved, particularly if you already have an offer of work. An applicant can wait several weeks to hear if their application has been approved and delays can be caused if the necessary documentation is not included with the application or if more information is requested.

A certain amount of documentation is required in support of your application. The application form should be completed and sent in with the appropriate fee, your passport and a passport photograph. In addition you should provide photocopies of supporting documentation. These include qualifications for the job you wish to do and evidence of work experience. If you have a firm offer of employment you will need to submit the details of this. Medical certificates may be required if you intend to be working in the country for more than 6 months. A valid police check certificate from your country of origin will be required to show that you have no criminal record.

The health checks are to determine that you will be capable of carrying out the work that you need to do. Those who are suffering from TB or who have serious health conditions that may require the use of publicly funded health care services will not normally get approval for a work permit. In addition, those who are considered to be at risk of becoming ill and needing long term medical care will normally have their application declined.

Applicants who are unsure about which category they should be applying in can use the checker on the New Zealand Immigration website which helps to determine which categories may apply to them.

Useful Resources

New Zealand Immigration Department
PO Box 3705
New Zealand
Tel: 09069 100 100 (from UK)
Tel: +64 9 914 4100 (from other countries)
Tel: 09 914 4100 (from Auckland)
Tel: 0508 558 855 (from other parts of New Zealand)

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.