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If your business is expanding internationally, you may want to hire employees in New Zealand to be part of your globally distributed team. Your remote workers could be New Zealanders, citizens of other countries working and residing there temporarily, digital nomads traveling the nation, or employees looking to relocate permanently to New Zealand.
This guide will teach you how to ensure that each of your employees can work legally in New Zealand. Following the country's immigration laws and ensuring they have the appropriate visa or work permit will help them achieve this. If employees want to enter and work in New Zealand, noncitizens must have New Zealand work permits and New Zealand work visas.
This guide will outline:
- An intro to New Zealand immigration laws
- New Zealand visa requirements
- The types of New Zealand work permits
- How to apply for New Zealand work visas
Types of New Zealand work visa and permits
Hiring remote employees globally, including in New Zealand, can be challenging. Here are the types of New Zealand work visas and permits for organizations planning to hire there.
There are many visa options for travelers who want to visit New Zealand and work in the country during their stay. Each visa has its own eligibility requirements and duration. Some visas can lead to resident status for the visa holder, which enables them to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely.
For remote workers who are under the age of 55, there are visa options that could lead to permanent residence. This is possible after holding the appropriate New Zealand work visa for two years.
Citizens from some countries are exempt from the visa requirement to visit New Zealand and can apply for a visa waiver and an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to visit the country for nonemployment reasons for up to three months.
Travelers who are not exempt, travelers who intend to stay longer than three months, and individuals who want to work in New Zealand must apply for a visa. The type of visa they would apply for depends on the purpose of their trip.
These are the different types of New Zealand visas:
- Visitor’s visa: This visa allows visitors for tourism purposes to stay in the country for up to nine months in an 18-month period.
- Student visa: This visa allows students to stay in the country for the duration of their studies.
- Work visa: This visa is for workers who have a job offer in New Zealand. The length of stay is up to three years.
- Resident visa: This visa grants the same rights as New Zealand citizens, allowing visa-holders to live and work in the country indefinitely.
Workers who wish to live temporarily in New Zealand to work remotely for an employer would apply for one of the New Zealand work visas.
Temporary work visa
As opposed to a resident visa, a worker may apply for one of the temporary work visas. This may be a good option for digital nomads or an employee who is going to be working in New Zealand for shorter lengths of time and may not want to permanently relocate to the country yet.
One of the temporary work visas is called a working holiday visa. This visa is available for workers from the age of 18 to 30. It allows eligible individuals to travel to New Zealand to work for up to 12 months for most countries and 23 months if the individual is from the U.K. or Canada.
Essential skills work visa
The essential skills work visa is the other temporary visa for individuals who are skilled in one of the in-demand skills, as listed by the government. Examples of skilled roles on the list include developer/programmer, engineering professional, and software engineer, among many others. The duration of this visa is between two and three years.
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Requirements for New Zealand work permit and visas
If you plan to expand internationally or hire employees in New Zealand, here are the requirements for work permits and visas.
Working Holiday visa
Working Holiday visas are available only to a select few countries, the United States included. To be eligible for a Working Holiday visa, an employee must only accept a temporary job.
To be able to get a Working Holiday visa, applicants:
- Must be a citizen of a country that has a Working Holiday scheme
- Must be aged 18 to 30
- Can study or train for up to six months
- Can work for up to 12 months
- Must not accept a permanent job
- Cannot bring children
Accredited Employer work visa
To be approved for an Accredited Employer work visa, an employee must already have a job offer in New Zealand for 30 hours of work per week. They can only get approved for this visa if there are no New Zealanders available to take the employment position.
To be able to get an Accredited Employer work visa, applicants must:
- Prove their identity
- Meet the government’s good character requirements
- Be offered a job with at least 30 hours of work per week by an accredited employer
- Be in good health
- Have qualifications and experience for the job
How to apply for a New Zealand work permit
The government of New Zealand makes it easy to apply for a New Zealand work permit by accepting applications online.
Working Holiday visa
To apply for a Working Holiday visa, visit the government website, make an account, and click on the Apply button to apply online.
Accredited Employer work visa
To apply for an Accredited Employer work visa, visit the government website, register an account, and click on the Apply button to apply online.
Application processing time
- The processing time for a Working Holiday visa is within 57 days.
- The processing time for an Essential Skills work visa is within eight months.
- The processing time for an Accredited Employer work visa is within 41 days.
Planning to hire or work in New Zealand? Here’s how Skuad can help
Skuad can be your employer of record in New Zealand to help make it easier to onboard remote employees to join your internationally dispersed remote teams.
We ensure that all of your employees have the proper visas and New Zealand work permits, enabling them to legally work in New Zealand and keeping your company in compliance with immigration laws.
These are some ways an employer of record can help you hire in New Zealand:
- Onboard employees locally in any of the 160+ countries where we operate
- Write legally compliant employment agreements
- Process global payroll and payroll taxes
- Ensure local compliance with labor laws, tax laws, and New Zealand immigration laws
- Ensure all of your employees meet New Zealand visa requirements
- Help your employees apply for New Zealand work visas
Contact us for a demo today to talk to our experts about how an employer of record like Skuad can help your company hire employees in New Zealand and elsewhere.
How do I get a work permit in New Zealand?
You can work in New Zealand when you get approved for a work visa, such as a Working Holiday visa or the Accredited Employer work visa. Applications for visas can be submitted online at the New Zealand Immigration website.
Can I work in New Zealand as a U.S. citizen?
Yes. U.S. citizens can work in New Zealand as long as they possess the relevant work visa.
Is it hard to get a work visa in New Zealand?
You can submit an application easily online. The application can take some time to process, however, so you should consider applying long before you intend to travel to New Zealand to work. Make sure you have all your supporting documentation such as your passport and other documents to ensure the application gets processed as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Approval for the work visa may depend if there are any New Zealanders available for the job position you are applying for. If there are no New Zealanders available to fill the position, you may get approved for the work visa.
How much money do you need to get a work visa for New Zealand?
- It costs 420 NZD to apply for a Working Holiday visa.
- It costs 750 NZD to apply for an Accredited Employer work visa.
- To be able to work for three years, you must be paid above the median wage of 29.66 NZD per hour. If you are paid below that, you can work for two years.
Can I get a New Zealand work visa without a job offer?
No. To be eligible for the New Zealand work visa, you must already have a job offer from a New Zealand employer.