Applying for a work visa is a nerve-wracking experience for both the person moving, and their hopeful employer. An immigrating employee needs to quit their old job, sell their home, and move, often bringing a family with them. This logistical and bureaucratic feat requires excellent planning and budgeting, and can easily be derailed by any number of factors; not least of which is the worker’s visa application.
Unexpected visa delays in such a situation can quickly become more than a little complicated. Applicants need to ensure that their first application goes through. It’s a good idea to work with experienced legal support in New Zealand to make the entire process as fast and painless as possible.
Get your ducks in a row before applying
Unless they are applying as part of a special work scheme, have already been studying in New Zealand, or are joining a partner in New Zealand, the first thing an applicant usually needs is a job offer from a New Zealand business. Receiving that job offer, though, is only the first preliminary step to getting a visa. New Zealand requires applicants to prove their identity and that they are “of good character”, meaning that they need to present a document from the police of their country showing their criminal record—or lack thereof. Evidence of good health is also required, in a format and from medical practitioners who have been approved by Immigration New Zealand.
Once applicants have all the documents they need, they also need to ensure that they’re properly translated into English. This can’t be done by the applicant, or by a family member. Instead, certified translations should be done by a professional or approved translator.
Whenever possible, it’s advisable to submit your application online. This allows applicants to check on the status of their application in real time, and to find out if any additional information or documents need to be submitted. Communicating internationally by mail, on the other hand, can unnecessarily add weeks or months to the application process.
Understanding what’s required from businesses
The most important document from the business hiring the applicant is the job offer itself. That offer must meet certain requirements, depending upon the type of work that it is and the pay. For some jobs, employers will need to submit supporting documents showing that they attempted and failed to recruit New Zealanders first. This ensures that the arrival of a foreign worker doesn’t deny a local citizen or resident a job.
Typical processing times can vary
Not all work visas are alike, and they don’t take the same amount of time to process. Depending on your particular circumstances, you can expect to take varying amounts of time to get a visa. Some foreign students who are finishing their studies in New Zealand and qualify for a work visa in order to stay and work here, for example, can usually get their work visa relatively quickly. The partner of a New Zealander can expect to wait significantly longer, as can often a work visa applicant under the essential skills category.
Regardless of the type of work visa for which you qualify, it is always a good idea to seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer to help smooth the process and ensure that your completed application is accurate and includes all of the required elements. There are many hurdles to each type of work visa application and it is important to get it right. Using an immigration specialist takes the uncertainty out of your visa application and removes the stress and complication of this critical step toward working in New Zealand.