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Silver Fern Visa To Target Talented Graduates

This is the latest policy to be introduced in April 2010. The Government’s new Silver Fern visa will attract young highly skilled people to work long term in New Zealand. The new Silver Fern policy enables young people aged between 20 and 35 years old with proven potential to come to New Zealand for up to nine months to seek skilled employment.
The successful applicants will have to find skilled employment and thereafter, they will be able to stay for a further two years, while they apply for residence.”Two permits will be available under this policy: a nine month ‘job search’ permit followed by a two year work permit once skilled employment is secured. The policy is designed so that people who meet the requirements upfront will be likely candidates for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category. However it is important to note that an initial limit of 300 places will be available.

Essential Skills Work Permit/Visa Category

An applicant may apply for work visa/permit under Essential Skilled Category. However they must find an offer of skilled employment not lee than 30 hours per week, which satisfies the Labour Market Test and meets the current market rate. Work permits/visa holders are allowed to live and work in New Zealand however it is entirely up to INZ to determine the duration of the work permit/visa.

An applicant may be able to apply for residence provided the position is listed in the ANZCO List and classified as being recognised. A work permit allows an applicant to work in New Zealand for a limited amount of time. It will state the expiry date of the permit and conditions of the permit. However the applicant must ensure that they are permitted to only work for a specific employer and they may not work for any other employer unless of course an application for a Variation of Condition (VOC) is submitted. Please refer to the VOC policy for further details.

It is mandatory that the New Zealand employer satisfies INZ and provides evidence, that they have made reasonable and genuine attempts to employ New Zealand citizens or residents. The employer must advertise the positions and register it with Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ). INZ will apply various tests to determine as to whether or not New Zealanders are available and if so whether they can be trained to assume the advertised position.

Immediate Skilled Shortage List (ISSL) & Long Term Skilled Shortage List (LTSSL)

LTSSL and ISSL are reviewed biannually depending on the New Zealand labour market. The ISSL is a list of identified occupations for which there is a shortage of skilled workers in New Zealand. It is centrally maintained and reviewed bi-annually by INZ. In compiling the list INZ uses a range of information sources and takes into account regional variations where appropriate. While the LTSSL is a list of identified occupations for which there is an ongoing and sustained shortage of skilled workers both globally and in New Zealand.

The biggest advantage is to allow the employer to recruit Non-New Zealanders without the need to advertise for the position. The employer is still required to fulfil all necessary requirements and it is also important that the applicant meets the minimum requirements set out in the LTSSL and ISSL list. The applicant will also need to meet the health and character requirements.

It is important to note that the ISSL policy only applied to temporary work policy whereas the LTSSL is also used for the awarding of bonus points under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) for employment, work experience and qualifications in areas of absolute skills shortage.

For an updated list please refer to the following links

ISSL – Click here for the ISSL pdf.
LTSSL – View the here for the ISSL pdf.

Variation of Condition

An applicant having current work permit through Essential Skills policy, may apply for variation to their current work permit conditions due to following reasons:

  • If they are changing employer but staying in the same region; or

  • If they are staying with the same employer but changing region.

However, the applicant will be required to submit a new work permit application should the following apply:

  • If there is change of employer and region.

  • If the occupation, job title or industry has changed.

Partners & Dependents of Work Permit Holders

An applicant may be eligible to apply for an open work permit provided that they are living in a genuine and stable relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident or are partners of New Zealand work permit holder. An open work permit allows the partner to work for any employer in any position and to work in positions of self employment.

Under INZ temporary policies a child is considered a dependent of their parents up until their 20th birthday unless they are working or in a partnership relationship. Dependents of work permit holders can be issued open student permits which allow them to study at any Government recognised educational institution in New Zealand up until completion of secondary school. Such students are not required to pay international student tuition fees. However dependents that have completed secondary school and wish to progress to University or Polytechnic must enrol as international students and pay the appropriate tuition fees in order to obtain their student permit. The work/student/visitor permits are issued in line with the permit of the principal applicant.

Study to Work Policy – New Zealand Graduates

This policy has been designed for New Zealand graduates. Study to Work Policy includes Graduate Job Search Work Permit Policy. Students with an offer of employment may be eligible under Study to Work Policy. Students without an offer of employment may be eligible under Graduate Job Search Work Permit Policy.

Students with an offer of employment

An International New Zealand student may be eligible to apply for a work permit provided they have an offer of employment relevant to their respected qualification to allow them to get practical experience suitable to their qualification. They must successfully either complete:

  • a course in New Zealand that had a minimum completion time of three years, or

  • a qualification in New Zealand that would qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category of Residence Policy.

The applicant must not apply for the work visa/permit no later than three months after the end date of your student permit for that course or qualification, or provide evidence that you are the holder of a Graduate Job Search work permit.

Students without an offer of employment

An applicant may apply for a 12 month graduate job search work visa/permit without an offer of employment, provided they have successfully completed a qualification in New Zealand that would qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category of Residence Policy. The applicant must apply for the work visa/permit no later than three months after the end date of their student permit for that qualification.

Working Holiday Visa

There are plenty of opportunities available to holiday makers visiting New Zealand and these opportunities are mainly short-term work opportunities for working holidaymakers. This policy has been designed to encourage people on working holiday permits to consider jobs in the areas of agriculture, horticulture and viticulture (grape-growing). Working holidaymakers who are able to show they have worked in the horticulture or viticulture industries for at least three months could be further obtain a three month stay in New Zealand.

Working Holiday Visa Schemes are available to a limited number of countries specified here and it is important that the applicant/s apply off shore prior to their arrival to New Zealand. The places are limited and successful candidates must meet the mandatory health, character and financial requirements. For more details please contact DNZI Ltd.


Approval In Principle (AIP)

AIP has been designed to allow New Zealand employers to recruit non New Zealanders provided the employer is able to establish that there are no New Zealand citizens or residents suitably qualified by training and experience available, or readily able to be trained to do the work. The employer will need to fulfil the necessary requirements in order to be granted an AIP. The employer may contact DNZI Ltd to discuss the AIP procedure in further detail.

An employer may apply for one than one worker however taking into consideration that there is a deadline to the AIP, the employer must immediately begin processing the work permit/visa application for the chosen candidate. It is important to note that no AIP will be granted for recruitment of workers to plant, maintain, harvest, or pack crops in the horticulture or viticulture industries.

New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) & Occupational Registrations

The applicant may need to get their qualification/s assessed NZQA who would then determine the level that the qualification(s) occupy on the Register. However, it is important to note that the points for which a particular qualification or group of qualifications qualifies is determined by the NZIS alone. Furthermore despite the fact that the NZQA may undertake its own verification of qualifications that are submitted to it for assessment, the NZIS alone determines whether an applicant genuinely holds the qualification(s) which may qualify for points. An applicant may initially request for an NZQA Pre-Assessment report followed by Full NZQA Report.


The qualifications in the list below do not require assessment by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Qualifications will qualify for points on the basis of their assessed position on the Register of the Skilled Migrant Category and subject to any additional requirements being met as specified in the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment


The qualifications listed below are recognised for the award of points as an exception under the Skilled Migrant Category. This list may be amended by the deletion or addition of qualifications from time to time, as approved by the Minister of Immigration. The lists are regularly updated on INZ website.

The List of qualifications exempt from Assessment is for immigration purposes only. The inclusion of a qualification on this list does not have bearing on the status of the qualification for professional registration, further study, and salary or employment purposes.

All teaching qualifications and degrees in Education will need to be assessed by the NZQA for teacher registration and salary purposes, should an applicant wish to enter the teaching profession within New Zealand.

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