Residence Visa (NZ)

There are a number of ‘pathways’ that you can take to qualify for and obtain a residence visa in New Zealand which will offer you the opportunity to live and work permanently in the country.

You will need to meet specific requirements for your occupation, skills, qualification, health, and character. The main residence categories are:

Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)

The Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) applies to applicants who are:

  • Aged 55 or under
  • Healthy and of good character
  • Able to speak English

Immigration New Zealand uses a ‘points system’ to assess an applicant’s eligibility to be invited to apply for residence. Points are awarded for your age, work experience, employability, and qualifications. Before applying for Residence under the Skilled Migrant Category, you are required to complete an application for an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI). There is a selection process involved which takes place fortnightly. If your EOI is successful, you will then be ‘Invited to Apply for Residence’.

Work to Residence Categories

Working temporarily in New Zealand can be used as a stepping stone to gaining residence and living here permanently. If you possess exceptional skills, talents, work experience and qualifications that are needed by New Zealand employers you can apply to work under the Work to Residence category.

You must meet the following standard requirements for a Work to Residence Visa:

  • Health and character requirements
  • Your passport must be valid for at least three months past the date you are to leave New Zealand
  • Be genuine in your intentions to work in New Zealand
  • Have the right visa for your visit

 If you are granted a work visa you must meet specific conditions during your stay:

  • Your work must be in line with the conditions specified in your work visa
  • You must not breach the time allowed by your visa
  • You must obey New Zealand law

In addition to the (above) standard requirements you must also meet the specific requirements of the category under which are you are applying for a Work to Residence visa. The type of category that you apply under will depend on your occupation and individual circumstances.

If your occupation is on the Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL) you may be eligible to apply under the Long Term Skill Shortage List Work category. The LTSSL is a list of skills and occupations that New Zealand needs and for which there is an on-going demand.

If your occupation is not on the LTSSL and you have a job offer from a New Zealand employer, you may be eligible to apply under the ‘Talent (Accredited Employers) Work category. An ‘Accredited Employer’ is a New Zealand employer/company/organisation that is accredited to recruit staff from overseas - there are specific requirements that employers must meet.
If you have a recognised talent/ability in the arts, culture or sports and your time in New Zealand will enhance the country’s reputation, you may be eligible for the ‘Our Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) Work category’. You will need to meet specific requirements for this category.

Entrepreneur/Entrepreneur Plus Categories  

The Entrepreneur Category, and the Entrepreneur Plus Category are pathways to residence for migrants who have set up businesses in New Zealand, and who can demonstrate that they have been actively participating in their business and contributing significantly to New Zealand’s economic development.

Entrepreneur Category

This category is designed for migrants who have successfully established or purchased a business in New Zealand, and have been ‘self-employed’ in that business for a minimum of two years, and that business has benefited New Zealand significantly. The first step to residence under this category is to obtain an Entrepreneur Work Visa.

Entrepreneur Plus Category

This category differs from the Entrepreneur Category – as it provides a faster track to residence. Applicants who apply under the Entrepreneur Plus Category are not required to operate a business for a minimum period of time before applying for residence. To be eligible to apply under the Entrepreneur Plus Category, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Health and character requirements
  • Hold a Long Term Business Visa (LTBV) or an Entrepreneur Work Visa
  • Have successfully established or purchased a business in New Zealand
  • Have been ‘self-employed’ in that business
  • Have invested a minimum of NZ$0.5 million in the business, and
  • Have created a minimum of three new full-time jobs for New Zealand citizens or residents
  • Meet English Language requirements

Migrant Investment categories

If you are an investor you may be eligible to gain residence in New Zealand under the Migrant Investment categories. There are two categories:

  • Investor Plus (Investor 1 Category)
  • Investor (Investor 2 Category)

There is no age limit for applicants, and you are not required to possess business experience, settlements funds, or English language ability under the Investor plus (Investor 1 Category).
 You will be required to:

  • Invest funds NZ$10 million in New Zealand for three years
  • Spend 44 days in New Zealand in each of the last two years of the three-year investment period
  • Meet health and character requirements

To be eligible to apply under the Investor (Investor 2 Category) you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Aged 65 or younger
  • Have minimum three years business experience
  • Invested NZ$1.5 million in New Zealand for four years
  • Have NZ$1 million of settlement funds
  • Have an English speaking background, or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test report with overall band score of three or more, or a competent user of English (the same applies for any family member included in the application)
  • Spend 146 days in New Zealand in each of the last three years of the four-year investment period
  • Meet health and character requirements

 How can we help you?

At Ausmart we only submit residence applications that meet immigration policy and criteria and have a good likelihood of success. When you come to us for an assessment of your eligibility for residence, we will provide you with accurate, honest, and sound immigration advice.

If you are living outside New Zealand

To assess your eligibility for residence please complete our free assessment to give us a clear picture of where you are at in your immigration process. Once we have received your assessment, we will provide you with a comprehensive assessment of the options available to you and/or your family. You may choose to communicate entirely by email, and/or telephone. We can also arrange a ‘phone meeting’ at your convenience.

At Ausmart we take our role as your immigration advisers seriously. We will be with you every step of the way, from the start of your immigration process until you have achieved your ultimate objective in New Zealand (i.e. Residence).

Throughout your application process we:

  • Provide you with cost-effective, sound, accurate, and honest immigration advice to enable you to achieve your short term and long term objectives in New Zealand
  • Ensure that we submit sufficient and correct supporting documents/evidence; and that we present immigration with a high quality application
  • Communicate directly with your Immigration Case Officer on all matters relating to your application
  • Provide you with regular updates on your application progress; and personally address any unforeseen (or anticipated) concerns or issues