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The criteria for obtaining a visa for New Zealand is determined by the New Zealand Government’s Immigration Policy (known as "instructions"). Those instructions set out the Government’s broad objectives for immigration. The criteria represent the balancing of competing forces of economic growth, cost to the State, security and equity/fairness.

There are two classes of visa: “residence” and “temporary entry”

The main categories of application for residency or PR are as follows:

  • Business Category Applications
  • Family Category Applications
  • Skilled Migrants
  • Residence from Work

Temporary Visas are visitor, work and student visas permitting short term temporary stay but not a right to an indefinite stay.

It is well known that many high quality migrants who would potentially provide enormous benefit to New Zealand are declined residence visas. This is often as a result of poor immigration advice and/or representation or Immigration New Zealand simply getting it wrong.

Business Category Applications

Business Category has several sub-categories known as Investor 1 & 2, Entrepreneur Work and Residence Visa, Employee of a Relocating Business.

These types of visas are suitable for those seeking to invest or operate their own business in New Zealand.

Investor Category migrants will benefit from receiving comprehensive advice to ensure they understand the obligations concerning their investment, and avoid creating a deportation liability.

The comprehensive legal services provided by Turner Hopkins will ensure that Entrepreneur Category migrants receive the highest standard of legal advice concerning asset protection, trusts, taxation (including New Zealand and cross border taxation issues) corporate governance, compliance, employment and other services necessary to successfully navigate the Business Category procedure.

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Family Category Applications

We take particular pleasure in assisting migrants seeking re-unification with family members (including partners and children) already in New Zealand. The strict requirements and definitions under the Immigration Act often result in these applications being time consuming and frustrating. Our skill and experience in this area can significantly reduce the worry that comes with the danger of getting it wrong, and more importantly confirm if family members are eligible for the visa they seek well in advance of making an application.

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Skilled Migrants

Migrants with recognised qualification and skills may be invited to apply for residence by Immigration New Zealand. This process is competitive and complex. The process (also known as “the points system”) starts with an “expression of interest” lodged by the visa applicant or his or her lawyer. This procedure needs to be handled with real care and expertise. A decision by Immigration New Zealand not to invite a person to apply for residence is not easily challenged. A significant number of migrants over assess their points resulting in Immigration New Zealand issuing an Invitation to Apply for Residence only later to issue a decline decision.

We have particular and significant experience in assessing the prospects of succeeding in this category and representing skilled migrants throughout this complex process.

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Residence From Work

This is a special category allowing a person to literally work their way towards residence or PR. By obtaining a special type of work visa and being employed in New Zealand for a specific period of time, the applicant can then qualify for PR based on that past employment. This category is limited to those with highly sought after skills or qualifications; or job offers carrying a set level of salary and with employers who have gained a special status under the Immigration Act. To establish if this is a viable avenue for you to obtain work visas and residence, contact us.

Temporary Entry Visas

Temporary visas include work visas, student visas and visitor visas.

Work Visas

New Zealand has an extensive set of work visas for those who wish to work in New Zealand. Employers seeking to recruit offshore or hire overseas nationals need to be familiar with the labour market testing requirements that attach to some types of work visa applications.

Working holiday schemes permit young nationals from a select group of countries to work for any employer while they holiday here.

Corporates seeking to transfer staff from offshore divisions or bring in specialist expertise for short term assignments can use special policies to ensure work visas are issued to their employees promptly.

Special policies exist for partners of New Zealanders and existing work permit holders to gain an authority to work for any employer.

Student Visas

Visas are available for those seeking to study in New Zealand. The visas are not just restricted to those seeking to attend University. School age children can also obtain student visas. Guardians accompanying school age students are also eligible for a temporary entry visa, and can gain a limited work right

Visitor Visas/Limited Purpose Visas

These visas are appropriate for those seeking to enter for social or family visits or even special events. Long term visas are available for Parents and Grandparents or Retirees who want to say for periods beyond the usual 90 days or 6 months.

If you want to visit to decide whether New Zealand is the ideal destination for you in the future this would be the best avenue by which to enter New Zealand. However care needs to be taken. Visitor visa applicants must prove to the New Zealand Government that they have a strong incentive to return to their home country; sufficient funds to stay; and that their intention is to just visit. A monetary bond may be required by the New Zealand Government.

Recent Reviews...

“I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to John Stirling and Kathryn Wynd for their patience and understanding. We are so honored to have John and Kathryn looking after us. Whenever someone asks if I know of legal firm, I always say Turner Hopkins.” ~ Manaia
“John is very easy to talk to, he never makes you feel dumb, and never makes you feel like you are wasting his time for asking questions. He explains everything very clearly, every time. John's support staff are also very efficient and so easy to deal with. No detail is missed when dealing with them. My husband and I are fans of them all :)” ~ Jess
“I can't speak highly enough of Jenny. She got everything done in a timely manner and when my ex-husband threw a spanner in the works at the eleventh hour she got the required documentation to his lawyers and settlement back on track.” ~ Tracey