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Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV) 2021

You can apply for this visa if you have a valid job offer from a New Zealand employer, and you have the necessary qualifications and experience (when applicable) to execute that job. 

Information about Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV)

Depending on your pay rate (and following the latest adjustment from July 2021), if you earn more than the median wage ($27 an hour), you may be eligible for a 3 year visa. If you earn less than the median wage, you can be eligible for a 2 year visa.

(*) This is a special circumstance due to border closure.

What benefits does this visa provide for me?

Currently, holders of this visa can:

  • Stay in the country for 2 or more years;
  • Work for the specified employer;
  • Support your partner for a visa (if visa holder earns above the median wage rate);
  • Support your dependent children to apply for a student visa (visa holder meet the minimum income threshold).

What are the Essential Skills Work Visa requirements?

A job offer is mandatory. In some cases, an employer must complete a labour market test before offering the job, to ensure that there are no New Zealand citizens or residents available, or easily trainable to do the job.   (see details on next paragraph) 

You will need to provide:

  • A job offer from a New Zealand employer; and
  • An employment agreement, detailing the location, pay rate, duration of the employment and enclosing the job description; and
  • The relevant work experience &/or qualification; and
  • Meeting the Good Health requirements (*); and 
  • Meeting the Good Character requirements (*)  

(*) Please note that in certain occasions, this may not be required;

Labour Market Test 

Depending on the type of job being offered to you,  the employer must demonstrate that they have made genuine attempts to hire New Zealand citizens or residents to do the job, but there was no one available or easily trainable found. 

To demonstrate this, New Zealand employers must advertise the job vacancy (on a nationwide platform, and for a determined period of time).  Example:  Advertise the vacancy on a online national newspaper for 15 days; 

If the role is paid under the median wage rate, the employer must request a Skills Match Report, from Work and Income (WINZ). WINZ will search its database for potential candidates and let the employer know if there are any. If there are no potential candidates, WINZ will provide the evidence to the proposed employer, to be used in the visa application. 

(*) Please note that as per the border closure, in 2021 it is not necessary to perform this activity if you are being offered the same job at the same company and region that you currently hold a visa for. 

Can I stay longer than 2 or 3 years? 

If you are not subject to the mandatory stand-down period, you can apply for an additional Essential Skills Work Visa before your current one expires. 

If you intend to stay in the country long term, you can also apply for a resident visa, under the Skilled Migrant Category or a Work To Residence Visa, under the Talent Accredited Employer Category.

What is the mandatory stand-down period?

If your job pays less than the median wage, or your earlier jobs were considered low-skilled, then, the longest you can stay in New Zealand with an ESWV is three years.   Then you would need to leave the country for 12 months to be able to apply for a subsequent ESWV.  (*)

(*) Please note that the compulsory stand down period will come into force in July 2022

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    We are experienced with facilitating employer accreditation applications with INZ.  We can also provide support staff to assist you with the required documentation (if required)