Dependents of Work Visa Holder

New Zealand recognises de facto (common law), marital, and same-sex relationships across all laws and policies.

As part of the Government’s plan to rebalance the Immigration system, there have been recent changes which were implemented on 31 May 2023 for those migrants wishing to bring their partners to New Zealand. Those people who apply for a Partner of a Worker – Work Visa will have new conditions which will mean;

  • they can only work for an Accredited Employer
  • they cannot be self employed
  • they cannot be paid below the median wage in roles covered by capped sector agreements (for example meat or seafood processing)
  • if working in a role covered by an uncapped sector agreement, they must be paid the relevant wage threshold in place
  • if working in a role NOT covered by an uncapped sector agreement, they must be paid the median wage (currently $29.66)

Note that these changes only relate to the partners of Accredited Employer Work visa holders/applicants, NOT partners of other types of work visas such as Specific Purpose or Event work visa, Post-Study Work visa and those eligible for a work visa as the partner of a student visa holder/applicant.

Dependent children, under the age of 20 years, are eligible for student visas to allow them to attend primary or secondary school in New Zealand as domestic students (i.e., they are not required to pay overseas student fees).  Pre-school children are eligible for a visitor visa for the same length of time as the principal applicant and can attend early childhood education (e.g., kindergarten).

Dependent children of certain types of work visas may only be granted a visa if their parent(s) meet a minimum income threshold, which is adjusted periodically.

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealand has reciprocal working holiday arrangements in place with a number of countries. These visas are targeted at people aged between 18 and 35 years of age (depending on the scheme), who wish to experience life in New Zealand for a 12-month period. United Kingdom and Canadian nationals are able to apply for up to a total length of stay of 23 months under this policy. From July 2023, applicants from the United Kingdom will be eligible for a 3 year working holiday visa and may work throughout the full three years. Applicants are only allowed one working holiday work visa in their lifetime.

Work restrictions apply and these differ from nationality to nationality. In addition, it is not possible for Working Holiday visa holders to take up a permanent offer of employment without applying for a mainstream work visa.

From 4 April 2023, working holiday makers who are currently in New Zealand with visas expiring up until 30 September 2023, will have their visas extended by six months. They will also have open work rights meaning they can work for the same employer for longer than the usual 3 month maximum (where applicable). The government has recognised the value of working holiday makers and their crucial role in the workforce in industries such as tourism, hospitality, agriculture and horticulture.

In addition to this, the Spanish working holiday scheme will see an increase in places available in NZ – going from a 200 to a 2,000 person cap, with a reciprocal agreement in place with the Spanish government.

Visitor Visa

The primary objective of New Zealand’s visitor visa policy is to facilitate the movement of visitors to New Zealand, to foster tourism, trade and commerce, international understanding, and cross-cultural links while minimising the risks to New Zealand.

Many nationals are able to travel to New Zealand for visiting purposes under a visa-waiver program for a period of up to three months.  United Kingdom passport holders may be granted a visitor visa of up to six months’ duration.

Travellers wishing to take advantage of the visa-waiver program must carry with them a return or onward ticket to a third country to which they have the right of entry and evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves during their intended stay in New Zealand.

Any visitors from a visa-waiver country must apply for a New Zealand electronic travel authority (NZeTA) before they travel to New Zealand.  NZeTAs are not required for New Zealand or Australian citizens or a holder of a valid visa for New Zealand.

An NZeTA request can be done online or via NZeTA mobile applications.  These can take up to 72 hours for processing, and as little as 10 minutes.  There is a fee involved including an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy.

Non-visa-waiver nationals must submit a visitor visa application to Immigration New Zealand and await the grant of their visa prior to travelling to New Zealand.

Visitor visa holders are not permitted to undertake employment (regardless of whether payment is received, or in which country that payment may be made) or undertake a course of study that is longer than three months in duration.

Business Visitors

Visas granted under this policy are not work visas, and they are only granted where applicants can demonstrate that they are not travelling to New Zealand for the purpose of work.  Granted for up to three months’ stay on each arrival, the holder is authorised to:

  • Undertake/attend business meetings or negotiations in New Zealand on establishing, expanding, or winding up any business enterprise in New Zealand or carrying on any business in New Zealand involving the authorised representatives of any overseas company, body, or person for a period or periods no longer than a total of three months in any calendar year;
  • Be a representative on an official trade mission recognised by the New Zealand Government;
  • Be a sales representative of an overseas company in New Zealand for a period or periods no longer than a total of three months in any calendar year; and
  • Be an overseas buyer of New Zealand goods or services for a period or periods no longer than a total of three months in any calendar year.

Holders are not permitted to:

  • Undertake employment regardless of where they may be paid from, or whether they are paid at all; or
  • Remain in New Zealand for a combined total of more than three months in any 12-month period as a business visitor.

Anyone not fitting into the requirements above is required to apply for a work visa.

Advising corporate and business clients since 1995

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