Hire migrant workers who are already in New Zealand

Some visa holders may already be allowed to work, without having to apply for a new visa

Your candidate may not require a visa

Before you seek to hire a migrant, you must verify whether they have the legal right to work for you. They may already have work rights on their existing visa, or they may have to apply for a visa to allow them to commence work with your company.

A visa is not required to accept a job offer. A visa is required to commence work.

Working Holiday Visa holders

More than 35 countries have a reciprocal agreement with New Zealand, which allows young people aged 20 to 30 inclusive (some exceptions up to 35) to travel to New Zealand and work for various employers as they visit the country. Each country or scheme has a specific set of rules, but the general allowance is a maximum stay of 12 months from entry date, though the UK scheme allows a 23 months stay.

Some schemes do not allow permanent employment or employment for more than 3 months for each employer. If you employ a Working Holiday Visa Holder and wish offer them permanent employment, they need to apply for a work visa that allows them to do so.

Work visa holders

Partners of work visa holders/student visa holders/New Zealand residents/New Zealand citizens, may already have a visa with open work rights, based on their relationship. If that is the case, they are allowed to work in any occupation, for any employer in New Zealand.

Workers whose visa specifies an employer may be able to vary the conditions of their current visa to change the employer, or may have to apply for a new visa based on the position you offer them.

Student visa holders

Most students can work part-time during their studies and full-time during breaks. You need to discuss their work rights with prior to them starting, to ensure they will not breach their visa conditions.

If you wish a student to continue working for you after they complete their studies, they must have another valid visa with work rights, ie a post-study work visa.

Post-study work visa holders

Many international students who complete a tertiary course in New Zealand may be granted a 1, 2, or 3 years open post-study work visa. These fresh NZ graduates are allowed to work in any occupation, for any employer in New Zealand.

Resident visa holders

Most resident visa holders can work for any employer, in any occupation.

Interim visa

If a temporary visa holder is applying for a further work visa as their last one is expiring or has expired, they may or may not be allowed to continue working during the interim. Talk to us to check their interim visa conditions.

What visa options are available for your staff?

If your ideal candidate does not fit any of the categories above, they need to apply for a work visa under a relevant category.

Visa options for your migrant staff here


Contact our friendly team today to discuss your accreditation or visa requirements.