Essential Skills Work Policy in New Zealand

New Zealand's Essential Skills Work Policy allows New Zealand employers to recruit temporary migrant workers to meet skills shortages that cannot be met from within New Zealand.

This policy enables the New Zealand Government to cover particular or seasonal skills shortages without undermining the employment opportunities of New Zealand citizens and residents.

To be eligible for a visa / permit under the Essential Skills Work Policy you must have an offer of employment for which you are suitably qualified and experienced, and:

  • Your offer of employment is in an occupation that is included on the current Immediate Skill Shortage List (formerly OSL) issued by the NZIS;
  • Your offer of employment is from an employer who has a current approval in principle from the NZIS for your recruitment; OR
  • The NZIS is satisfied there are no suitable New Zealanders available, or no New Zealanders readily able to be trained to do the job.

Partners of visa / permit holders may also qualify for working rights in New Zealand.

New Zealand Work Permit Assessment


Work Visa / Permit Duration

Generally, the maximum stay for Essential Skills Work Policy visa / permit holders is 3 years from their initial arrival in New Zealand.

Further Work Visa / Permits may be obtained for the period for which any further employment is offered, up to a maximum of 3 years each time. There is no limit on the number of further permits you may obtain.

For each period of employment the applicant must meet all New Zealand Work Visa / Permit Policy requirements to retain their legal working status.

New Zealand Work Permit Assessment

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