Migrate to New Zealand

Migration to New Zealand

New Zealand has a range of visa options depending on whether you want to work here, study, invest or simply enjoy a visit.

Choosing the best option for your circumstances will likely depend on how long you want to stay, whether you’ve already got a job lined up and if there is a shortage of your skills in New Zealand.

If you want to visit New Zealand before you make the move or for a holiday, you may need a visitor visa.

Work and live in New Zealand permanently

There are two main categories if you want to live in New Zealand permanently and your application is based on your occupation or skills. These are:

  • Skilled Migrant Category visas, and
  • Work to Residence visas.

Skilled Migrant Category

  • Skilled Migrant Category – for people who have the skills, qualifications and experience New Zealand needs.

To apply under the Skilled Migrant Category, you first need to send an expression of interest to Immigration New Zealand.

Work to Residence

  • Work to Residence – for people who meet one of the following criteria:
    • are qualified in occupations that are in demand in New Zealand
    • have a job offer from an accredited employer, or
    • have exceptional talent in sports or the arts.

A Work to Residence visa is a temporary work visa that allows you to apply for a Residence from Work residence visa later. The advantage of Residence from Work is that you do not need to send us an expression of interest before applying for residence.

Applying for a Permanent Resident visa

Resident visas granted under Skilled Migrant Category and most visas* granted under Residence from Work will allow you to travel outside New Zealand in the first two years of your residence. After this time you will need to apply for a Permanent Resident Visa. A Permanent Resident Visa allows unrestricted travel. This means that you can travel outside New Zealand with no limit on time spent out of New Zealand, and return as a resident.

*In some cases, a Work to Resident applicant may be granted a Permanent Resident Visa straight away through their residence application (if they work for an accredited employer and earn over NZ$90,000 per year).

Investing and doing business in New Zealand

New Zealand’s business migration categories are designed to contribute to economic growth, attracting ‘smart’ capital and business expertise to New Zealand, and enabling experienced business people to buy or establish businesses in New Zealand.


People wishing to invest funds in a business and live in New Zealand can apply for residence under our Investor/Investor Plus categories, or apply for a visitor visa valid for up to two years under our Temporary Retirement Category.


The visa for people who wish to run their own business in New Zealand is the Entrepreneur Work Visa.  People who are granted an Entrepreneur Work Visa will also be able to apply for an Entrepreneur Residence Visa once they have run their businesses for 2 years (or 6 months if they meet extra conditions).  People already on a Long Term Business Visa (LTBV) can also apply for residence under the Entrepreneur Residence Category.

Employees of a relocating business

If you are a key employee in a business that is relocating to New Zealand, you may be eligible to apply for residence under the Employees of Relocating Business Category. This category facilitates the granting of residence to employees of businesses relocating to New Zealand, who do not qualify for residence under any existing categories.

Study in New Zealand

Everyone who comes to study in New Zealand from overseas must meet certain rules and requirements. If you are coming to New Zealand to study for more than three months, you will need a student visa.

Family categories

A family member who is already a New Zealand citizen or resident can sponsor you to come to New Zealand if you are their:

  • Partner – you are the husband, wife, defacto or civil union partner of a New Zealand citizen or resident.
  • Dependent child – you are a dependent child with a parent who is a New Zealand citizen or resident.
  • Parent – you have a child who is a New Zealand citizen or resident.

See the Parent Retirement Category if you have a child who is a New Zealand citizen or resident and you are able to invest NZ$1 million in New Zealand for four years.

Family temporary entry

If you intend to stay temporarily with your family member who is a New Zealand citizen or resident, the kind of visa you need depends on what you want to do when you’re here.

  • Visit/holiday – we have categories for partners of New Zealand residents and/or citizens; culturally-arranged marriage; dependent children of New Zealand residents and/or citizens; parent and grandparent multiple entry visitor visa; or general visitors.
  • Work – for partners of New Zealand residents and/or citizens category.
  • Study – for partners and children of New Zealand residents and/or citizens category.

All the categories of visa have many subclasses and strict criteria that you must meet in order to be eligible for immigration to New Zealand. It is advisable that you consider what visa would work best for your circumstances as a visa rejection can not only be costly but can also tarnish your record with the New Zealand Immigration Department, potentially hindering any further applications.

Before making any decisions on your New Zealand Immigration, talk to a Ready Migration Agent. We are an international migration company specialising in migration to New Zealand and Australia.

No matter what your circumstances we can assess your eligibility for migration to Australia whether it be for a temporary or permanent stay. If you would like expert and affordable advice tailored to your individual circumstances, simply complete a No obligation Free Visa Assessment. One of our experienced, registered migration agents will be in touch with you to advise you of your options. Alternatively come to our Gold Coast or International based offices for a confidential chat.


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