Immigration in New Zealand is full of phrases and words. For those coming from outside of New Zealand, these might be different than those you are used to. Even for those people who have gone through immigration in New Zealand, some terms are misused and not understood. So here is a list of common words and phrases, as well as a few visa types. This is NOT a complete list, and it is not legal advice. Consider it a starting point to help you understand what some of the terms mean. However, it should not replace talking to an immigration lawyer.

  • Accreditation / Accredited Employer – This is an acknowledgment by Immigration New Zealand that an employer meets certain standards and is in need of employees that they cannot find in New Zealand. An employee can obtain a work visa, and then a residency visa, from employment with an accredited employer without the need for the employer to show a labour market test has been performed. This can often be the simplest path to residency to an applicant. However, there are only a limited number of accredited employers, and there are other requirements to be met.
  • Citizenship – When you officially become an NZ Citizen, get the passport etc. New Zealand does not mind if people have more than one citizenship. However, some countries do not allow this.
  • eMedical – For those seeking to remain in New Zealand for more than 24 months, Immigration New Zealand will require you to obtain a medical certificate and x-ray certificate (although those under 11 years old or those pregnant are not required to be x-rayed). These tests will then be uploaded by the panel physician into the eMedical system. You will typically not be provided with details of the results
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – This is a work visa tied to a particular job and employer. It allows the applicant to work in the job for that employer for a set period of time (either 1 or 3 years depending on the job and pay). An employer will usually be required to show that they cannot find a citizen or resident to do the job, which is called the Labour Market Test. However, If the job is on the skill shortage list, and the applicant meets the requirements of that list, then no labour market test is required.
  • Interim Visa – An interim visa is a visa given to allow someone to stay in New Zealand either while a visa application is being processed, or to allow them time to leave after an application has been declined.
  • Investor 1 & 2 Residency Visas – These are visas that allow investors to obtain New Zealand residency. The type of visa, and the conditions, will depend on the investment amount, but the applicant will typically require a minimum of $3.5million, though this may go higher under certain circumstances, to apply.
  • Limited Visa – A limited visa is a visa that is for a set period, and the visa holder is not allowed to apply for another visa until they have left the country. They must leave the country before they can apply for a new visa.
  • Multiple Entry – When you can enter and leave New Zealand as many times as you would like during the term of the visa.
  • Permanent Residence Visa (also referred to as PR) – This is the visa that allows someone to return to New Zealand indefinitely. The difference between this and the residence visa is that the right to re-enter New Zealand. On a residence visa, someone can stay in New Zealand forever. However, their right to re-enter New Zealand after leaving usually expires, typically, for a Skilled Migrant Residence Visa, after two years. Once PR is gained, that right to re-enter is tied to your passport, and can be transferred to each new passport you obtain. For those who cannot hold dual citizenship, PR is as close to citizenship you can get without getting the exclusive black NZ passport.
  • Potentially Prejudicial Information (PPI) – If Immigration New Zealand are looking at declining an application they will usually, but not always, provided a PPI letter. This will allow the applicant one week to respond to Immigration New Zealand’s concerns. If you have made an application without expert assistance, and you receive a PPI letter, then we recommend that you contact us immediately.
  • Residence Visa – These are the types of visa that allow someone to remain in New Zealand indefinitely. However, it does not allow someone to re-enter New Zealand indefinitely.
  • Section 61 – A section 61 application is a visa application of any type that is made when someone is in New Zealand but does not have a current visa. It can be a visa application of any type, but it will still be referred to as a ‘section 61 application’.
  • Single Entry – When you are allowed to enter New Zealand just once on a visa. Once you enter, you cannot leave and re-enter on the same visa.
  • Skilled Migrant Category Residency Visa – This is a points-based visa giving the right to residency. Points are gained based on a number of factors, such as education, age, experience etc. See our article on this visa for more information about the process and requirements.
  • Student Visa – A visa that allows someone to be in New Zealand for the purpose of study. Some student visas will also allow a limited amount of work (typically 20 hours a week, but it will state it on the visa).
  • Temporary Entry Visa – These are the group of visas that allow someone to be in New Zealand for a set period of time. They do not allow someone to remain in New Zealand indefinitely.
  • Visa under partnership – This could be a visitor visa, work visa, or residency visa. It is based on the applicant’s relationship with an NZ citizen or visa holder. Not all visas give a right to the partner being in New Zealand. The type of visa sought under partnership will depend on the time together and the time living together. Despite many others saying so, there is NO minimum time living together before applying for a work visa under partnership. We often have people tell us they were told by an agent that they had not lived together long enough, only for us to get them a visa.
  • Visitor Visa – A right to come to New Zealand to visit. You are not allowed to work under this visa.
  • Work to Residence – This is the visas that are obtainable through an accredited employer.
  • Work Visa – A right to work in New Zealand. A work visa can either be open (typically gained after study, or through a relationship with a visa holder or citizen) or tied to a particular employer.

This is not a full list of terms that you may come across, but it will hopefully provide you with some clarity as to some of the terminology. It is also not intended to be legal advice, as the complexity of an application is much greater than we can cover in an article. We can assist with any of the visas listed above, and several more that aren’t listed. If you have any immigration queries, then please contact us. There are many other terms used with immigration in New Zealand, often tied to other visas that we can assist with. If you need assistance with any of these, or any other New Zealand immigration issue, please contact us.