Come to work in New Zealand

There are many people who want to come to work or live in New Zealand, so what is the first step? We often get enquiries from people overseas who really want to live permanently in NZ. More often than not the first step involves finding a job or job offer before you can apply for a visa. To come to NZ or to stay in NZ you will need a visa, and to get a work visa or residence from work, then you need a job to base the visa on first. The reason why the job needs to come first is that depending on the job, the conditions and duration, or even possibility of getting the visa will be different. No job means no visa, a highly skilled job means you are more likely to get a visa and have better conditions.

Basic conditions for the type of job you need

The 2 absolute conditions of the job you need to find are that it is:

  • Skilled work = work that you need a qualification or at least 3 years' work experience to do
  • Matches your qualifications and / or work experience

However, these are only the basic conditions for immigration, the conditions for actually being able to be hired may be different. In general there are jobs that are more suitable for immigration purposes and those that are generally less suitable. Less suitable doesn't mean that it would be impossible to succeed, it just means that it is less likely to succeed.

To improve your chances of success (in addition to the 2 conditions above), the following very general points are important to consider:

  • You need to have good English - specifically communication skills
  • trade jobs, or jobs with tangible results have a better chance of success - carpenter, mechanic, bricklayer, hairdresser, etc
  • Highly skilled jobs are only useful if you can get NZ registration - Doctor, lawyer, nurse, teacher, etc
  • office type jobs and management level jobs generally go to New Zealanders  

look for the job yourself

Kiwi employers will think much better of you if you apply for the job and communicate with them directly, rather than going through a friend or someone else. Employers want to know that job applicants are qualified and experienced of course, but they also want to know that they are motivated, communicative, can use English well enough, are not shy, etc. Not looking for a job yourself can send the wrong mesage, and opportunities may disappear than would otherwise have gone well.

Jobs are often advertised on or on 

Study pathway

If you find that your qualifications or skills are not in demand, or you just keep getting rejected because you don't have a visa, then a study pathway is usually the other best option. You might find that if you come to NZ to study and update your skills with a NZ qualification this can help to find a job. Along with the new qualification, the other most beneficial part of this pathway is that if you have work rights on your student visa you can get a part time job in your chosen industry, which can then lead to a full time job when you finsih studying.

many people follow this pathway, but you need to be careful that:

  • The school you study at is reputable and not one that is known to be dodgy
  • you can actually get work conditions on your student visa and post study work visa eligibility from your chosen study pathway 
  • The qualification enhances your work experience and current qualifications