Temporary Work Visas for New Zealand

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Working Holiday Visa

This visa is an attractive option if you are under 30 and looking to travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months (up to 23 months if you are from the UK)

In order to apply for a working holiday visa, you must:

  • Have a passport that’s valid for at least 3 months after your planned departure from New Zealand
  • Be at least 18
  • Not bring children
  • Hold a return air ticket, or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket
  • Not have previously been approved for a Working Holiday visa
  • Be coming to New Zealand to holiday, with work being the secondary intention for your visit

Essential Skills Work Visa

This temporary visa may be your best option if you already have a job offer from a New Zealand employer. The Essential Skills visa is designed to allow employers to source foreign workers should they fail to find appropriate candidates from the local workforce. The visa allows a stay in New Zealand for up to three years.


This visa is ideal if you:

  • You have a job offer
  • You prefer to work in New Zealand on a temporary basis
  • Your skills/experience are needed as demonstrated by your employer’s search to fill the position, and/or its listing on the Immediate or Long Term Skills Shortage List and you meet the requirements set out on one of the lists.
  • Visas are usually granted for a minimum of twelve months up to a maximum of three years. The visa can be renewed if the employer agrees.

Silver Fern Visa

The Silver Fern Visa category has been designed to make it easier for young skilled people to immigrate to New Zealand without a huge amount of experience; instead they can gain that experience upon their arrival in the country.

The Silver Fern policy consists of two sub-policies: the Job Search policy and the Practical Experience policy. Together, these components offer a two-stage pathway to residence.

Silver Fern Job Search

The Silver Fern Job Search visa will allow applicants to enter New Zealand for nine months while they seek skilled employment. Places are limited to 300 per year.

Silver Fern Practical Experience

If applicants have been successful in obtaining a Silver Fern Job Search visa, and they successfully find skilled employment in New Zealand within the required nine months, then they may apply for a Silver Fern Practical Experience visa/permit. This will allow them to remain in that employment for two years.


In order to make an application for the initial Silver Fern Job Search visa, applicants must:

  • Be aged between 20 and 35 years.
  • Make the application using the online system set up for this purpose.
  • Be outside of New Zealand at the time of lodgement.
  • Have a recognised qualification which is either a:
  • – bachelor degree or higher
  • – trade qualification and a minimum of two years’ work experience in that trade
  • Be able to meet English Language requirements.
  • Have funds available to support their stay in New Zealand

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