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Essential Skills Work Visa

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Essential Skills Work Visa

You can apply for this visa if you have a job offer from a New Zealand employer, and you have the necessary qualifications and experience to work in that job. However, in most cases, your employer, before offering you the job, must have checked if any New Zealanders were available to do the work, through a process called labour market test.

Suppose you have a job offer in an occupation on one of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists and your qualifications and experience match. In that case, your employer won’t need to do the labour market test and provide evidence of attempting to recruit New Zealanders.

The duration of this visa usually depends on how long you have been offered employment for, and whether you will be paid below the median wage, or the median wage and above. If your wages are at or above the New Zealand median wage, then you may be able to get this visa with a duration for up to 3 years. If you want to stay in New Zealand for longer, you may be able to apply for another Essential Skills work visa.

On an Essential Skills visa, from 27 July 2020, you can support visitor visas for partners, visitor or student visas for dependent children, as long as you meet the income requirement. If you are paid at or above the median wage, you can also support a work visa for your partner.

This visa does not allow self-employment, but you can study for up to 3 months in any 12 month period, or do any study required as part of your employment.

If you have an Essential Skills work visa based on a skilled job, you may gain enough points to qualify for Residence Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category.

If you would like to know more about Essential Skills Work Visa  process, assessment criteria and the pitfalls that you should be aware of, please call us today on +64 9 379 0219 or email


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