• Ishvinder Singh

I am an overseas professional – What are my options in New Zealand?

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Immigration Lawyer NZ

I have had a lot of inquiry from overseas professionals who would like to make the move to NZ. I would like to address some of the common misbelief’s and offer advice on the correct way.

Common Misconceptions

Can I apply for a work visa? I mean a visa that allows me to come and look for a job?

For most work visas, one has to have a willing NZ employer who is willing to sponsor you for a work visa, this process involves, in many situations, proving to INZ that no suitable local candidates were available to do that job. So there are very limited “direct work visa” options.

Can I apply for residency directly?

Secondly, most residency options are tilted very heavily towards “skilled employment” i.e. you will need a job first, before you are in a situation where your application may be feasible. The pathway is via a job “skilled employment” not directly.

Ideal Strategy for a Professional

One thing is certain, NZ welcomes those who can make a positive contribution. The main measure of that, is your employment. The following steps may help

Look for employment opportunities with Accredited Employers.

There are about 400 NZ employers who enjoy accredited status, you can check the list here

Broadly speaking, as long as you are below the age of 55 and you get a job with an accredited employer which pays you a salary of $ 55K or more for a 40-hour work week, you may apply for a work to residence visa. Once on a work to residence visa, you need to work for the employer for 24 months and apply for residency.

You have education / skills that match the Long-Term Skills Shortage List and you have a job offer from a NZ employer.

You can check the requirements here

In addition to meeting the requirements of the LTSSL if you apply for a job with any NZ employer, upon meeting the conditions, you can go on a work to residence visa.

You have a job in NZ

You may check if you may be eligible under the “Skilled Migrant Category” which is a points-based system and you need 160 points to qualify. Points are granted for various factors, you can do a quick points check here

I don’t have a Job in NZ but have skills / Experience that may be suitable.

I suggest you apply for a job in NZ using job sites such as or You may also register your interest with large employers as well as employment consultants.

I don’t have a job in NZ and my skills experience are not really suitable for NZ job market

The pathway in your situation is that you research study options in NZ a good resource is and earn your qualifications in NZ that may lead to skilled employment and ultimately residency.

Most good courses come with a package i.e. you get a post study work visa to gain professional experience and utilise that knowledge to gain employment in NZ job market.

Some courses may allow your spouse an option of employment in NZ, which increases your chances of finding employment and so forth.

I have substantial amount of funds that I can invest in New Zealand

The pathway in such a situation may be one of the investor visas, please contact us for details.


The views expressed here are personal, we are a private business and not a part of immigration NZ or any government agency. The information provided is strictly time and policy specific and is not intended to be a substitute for information available on or professional immigration advise.

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