NZ work visa, essential skills work experience

In the current climate within Immigration NZ we are seeing more challenges regarding validating work visa applicants experience. In some cases the applicant has genuine and relevant work experience but the case officer may also request official government agency documents such as work books or tax statements to validate this. In other cases the applicants CV and letters of reference from employers is sufficient proof. The main issue faced by work visa applicants when applying for an essential skills work visa in NZ is the topic of proving work experience and specifically how to satisfy Immigration NZ that it is genuine which is partly subjective.

Many applicants embark on their work visa application using work experience as the qualifier when in fact they could have their qualifications officially recognised by NZQA. Whilst this adds another administrative process and a cost to the application once achieved the process of qualifying the applicants skills becomes an objective one. They either have a NZQA for their qualification or they do not. If they do they are deemed qualified. If they do not then they must prove the required years of relevant work experience as the qualification. This then has the issue as stated previously and also the ‘relevant’ part is also subjective.

What may be a project manager role may not be interpreted as such by Immigration or may be considered a more junior role than it actually was. For this reason if you are considering an essential skills work visa in NZ and you have an industry qualification then it is a far safer pathway to take the NZQA approach and avoid having to prove relevant and proven work experience. If you would like to discuss this topic or anything regarding your objective to study, work, live in NZ and the visa application process please contact

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