Work Visa - Essential Skills
The Essential Skills Work Visa allows people to work temporarily in New Zealand for between one and three years in occupations where New Zealand workers are not available.
This visa is often used by applicants to work in New Zealand while applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category.
To apply for an Essential Skills work visa the first thing you will need is an offer of work in New Zealand. Sponsorship is not needed but you will need a written employment contract which:
Importantly before a New Zealand employer can offer a job to a foreign worker they must be able to show they cannot find a New Zealand worker unless the job is listed as being in shortage by Immigration New Zealand.
Are you qualified?
For an Essential Skills work visa you must also prove you are suitably qualified to do the job in New Zealand - this can be through either through training (such as a relevant formal qualification) or relevant work experience.
Useful documents include qualification certificates, letters from previous employers or employment records. The requirements you must meet are listed in the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations which splits occupations into 5 skill levels for ease of reference. Here is a rough guide.
Not sure where to start? Check your options with a professional to put you on the right track.
Quick check: Essential Skills visa requirements
You will need to show evidence of:
- occupations include: educators, accountants, architects, lawyers and medical professionals;
- requirement: either a Bachelors' Degree or five years of relevant work experience.
- Managers and technicians
- occupations include: chefs, managers, engineering technicians and paramedics;
- requirement: either a Diploma (level 5 or 6) or three years of relevant work experience.
- occupations include: mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, secretaries, bakers and butchers;
- requirement: either a level 4 qualification or three years of relevant work experience.
- Semi-skilled roles
- occupations include: drivers (of any kind), scaffolders, sports instructors and clerical workers;
- requirement: either a level 2 or 3 certificate or one year of relevant work experience.
- occupations include: retail, labourers and carers;
- requirement: either a level 1 certificate (or high-school pass) or on the job training.
Essential Skills Summary
This system favours more skilled workers in areas New Zealand employers need. There is no requirement to work in an occupation listed as being in shortage but this can help. Some jobs (for example Nurse or Electrician) will require registration.
Your visa will allow you to work for a named employer in a specific job and location for up to three years (12 months for those with occupations in skill levels 4 or 5) and can be renewed although your employer will need to ensure there are no New Zealand workers available before offering you the job back for another visa unless your occupation is listed as being in skill shortage.
If you have a partner or children they may also be able to apply for visas for the same period as the main applicant.
Whether you are coming to New Zealand for a short adventure or are hoping to stay permanently the key to success is research:
- Check your eligibility with a licensed immigration adviser to make sure you are on the right track;
- Check employment options with New Zealand employers directly to ensure your skills are needed;
- Find out about New Zealand - award winning community website www.move2nz.com is a great free resource;
- Contact us if you need any help through the process ;o).