New Zealand has an open immigration policy as 23% of the population was born overseas with a targeted volume of 45,000 in 2004 to 2005 to increase total population by 1.5%.

New Zealand immigration offers a permanent and a temporary immigrant visa for those looking for work and living in New Zealand. Applicants who want to work and live in New Zealand on a permanent basis can apply through the Skilled Migration Policy in New Zealand. A skilled worker can also migrate on a temporary basis through the New Zealand Work Permit Policy. “Holiday makers” do not need a visa when traveling in New Zealand in case they possess citizenship in a country where a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand is implemented.

Types of Visa and Conditions

The New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Scheme offers young people aged between 18 to 30 years as a chance to travel in New Zealand. They are also allowed to be employed throughout their stay. Under this scheme, young people are allowed to stay in New Zealand for 12 to 23 months if they are from the United Kingdom. To qualify for the Working Holiday Visa, these young people should:
  • Be a citizen of a country that has a working holiday agreement with New Zealand;
  • Pass all the working holiday basic requirements like character pre-requisites, health, age and others;
  • Pass specific criteria according to the applicant’s state of origin;
  • Have enough funds during period of stay; and
  • Not have previously qualified in the Working Holiday Visa Scheme.
The Skilled Migration Visa offers the opportunity for individuals to get a permanent residency in New Zealand.  This also helps to increase the New Zealand skilled workforce. This type of visa is designed to fill the gap between the skill that New Zealand needs and the skill that the immigrants bring. To be qualified for this type of visa, you must:
  • Be under 56 years of age
  • Pass the character, English language and health requirements.
  • Get 100 points in the points system.
The Student Visa is issued to foreign nationals who want to study in New Zealand. A student permit issued by the New Zealand Department of Immigration allows the student to stay and study there for 12 months.

Expats have shared their experiences in the  New Zealand Expat Forum last September 6, 2009:

According to the NZ Immigration website

'British citizens and other British passport holders who produce evidence of the right to reside permanently in the UK can visit for up to six months without a visa.'

(see  Visa-free countries - New Zealand Immigration Service )

The issue as to length of application was discussed in the New Zealand Expat Forum last August 23, 2009:

It's a year from the date they put it in your passport... or it was when we moved over 3 years ago.

If you do find you're pushing it even so, you can always pop over for a holiday and get the visa validate that way. Then you'd have another 2 years to get things sorted..

Temporary Visa

A temporary Visa is issued to visitors. They can stay in New Zealand for a period of 9 up to18 months and can qualify for an additional three months if they financially support themselves and have not studied and worked in New Zealand.  They can stay there for a maximum of 12 months to 24 months. The time spent in New Zealand has to be at least the same as the time spent out in New Zealand before being qualified to return again as a visitor in New Zealand.

The limited purpose visa facilitates the entry of foreign nationals for an expressed purpose and for a short period such as a wedding, a study course, a conference, a funeral and other important ceremonies. This type of permit or visa has many limitations. You cannot apply for extension, permanent residency or appeal against deportation or removal and must leave on the expiry date of the visa or permit.

Permanent Visa entry

The family visa is available to applicants who have stable and genuine relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident. They can stay there for 18 months. It is applicable to same gender relationships and for those who have family members residing in New Zealand such as parents and adult siblings.  The requirements for a family visa are character and health certificates.

A long-term business visa is primarily a self-employment work visa for those who need to set up a medium or big business in New Zealand. Business visa is valid for three years and is renewable.

The entrepreneur visa is given to entrepreneurs who have already established a successful business in New Zealand.

The Investor Visa is given to those who are below 64 years old and those who receive not less than the minimum number of 12 points in the character and health check. It is also given to those applicants who have an average of at least 5 in the English language skills test.

Immigration Point System

The point system of the New Zealand immigration is intended to allow expression of interest. The points for skilled workers in New Zealand are based on skill shortage, work experience and age. New Zealand immigration has bonus points. To qualify for bonus points, you should have substantial work experience or qualifications for an absolute skill shortage in an identified area.

The new Skilled Migrant System, known as General Skill before, is intended to attract high skilled immigrants to New Zealand mostly in areas with skill shortage and low growth. The system consists of 2 stages such as the invitation to apply for residency and the lodging of expression of interest. Applicants need to get a minimum of 100 points to obtain an expression of interest and at least 140 points for the applicant to receive a work offer.

This point system is based on useful qualities of the individual applicant identified as work experience, recognized qualification, age and close family ties in New Zealand.

Immigration Permit

Under the Immigration Act of 1987, the visa represents permission to visit New Zealand. All permits will expire when the owner of the visa leaves New Zealand.  To acquire a permit, the applicant must have a Customs Officer stamp placed on the applicant’s passport at the port of entry and an electronic document in the computer system of New Zealand Immigration.

Student Immigration Policy

The Minister of New Zealand Immigration issued a policy allowing British citizens to finish their course and stay in New Zealand. Graduate students in accounting and architecture are allowed to extend their stay for three years to gain work experience and get their qualification.