When I first arrived in New Zealand, I wasn’t planning to stay more than one year. “My plan” was to stay one year, hop over to Australia to work, then travel after another year. However, the longer I was in New Zealand, the more I fell in love with the place. The more I thought “I could live here.” I also felt a little sad when people said “when you go home at the end of the year.”
So after a holiday to Fiji, I approached my manager and found out that it was possible for me to continue working there. So I looked into various visa options.
With my qualifications I could have applied for a skilled migrant visa and got residency from the get go, but this was more of an expensive process, and I didn’t want to fully commit.
So I applied for a work to residency visa under the long term skills shortage list, which meant after 2 years I would be a temporary resident (and after another 2 years I’d be a permanent resident). In the end, I left before I could apply for residency. However, if I return there many be a chance I can still apply being that I lived in the country for more than 18 months in a 2 year period.
How to get a work to residency visa
This is job dependant, so your employer needs to fill out an application to say that you will be employed full time or earning over NZ$45,000 per year.
NZ’s immigration system is very strict, they don’t want people coming to the country to seek medical care (which is fair enough!) so you require a medical. This can be done at a GP or at a medical immigration service (which may cost more).
You give your history, are weighed, have blood pressure checked, have blood tests and have a chest x-ray to check for TB.
You then receive a report from the medical doctor. This all gets sent off with your employer form and another application to NZ immigration.
My visa was granted within 2 weeks, no questions asked.
Cost of a NZ work visa
Visa fee NZ$360 (when applied in New Zealand) (£180)
Medical fee NZ$460 (£230)
Total NZ$820 (£410)
My visa was granted from October 2012 to April 2015. However had I stayed until October 2014 (I left in June 2014), I would have been able to apply for temporary residency, which has another fee attached to it.
If I am to return to NZ, I could apply for residency under the skilled migrant category.
If you are under 30, you may want to look into applying for a Working Holiday Visa – it is super easy to get, and it means you can travel and work in the country for one year.