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START YOUR NZ JOURNEY

With Expert Immigration Lawyers in New Zealand

Your partner for Immigration Advice and Visa Success

OUR Immigration Services

Welcome to McSweeney Immigration Law, your trusted partner on your immigration journey. 

Our firm is dedicated to advocating for clients who seek to contribute significantly to this country. Over the years we have helped thousands of clients, ensuring honest and responsive communication, in an often-complex process. We are committed to meticulously planning for our client’s success, by designing strategies that meet their needs and deliver results. Count on us to navigate New Zealand's immigration landscape and secure the certainty you deserve.

For more information, please select from one of our key service areas below:

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WORK VISA

Pursue your career in New Zealand with the right Work Visa we can help you obtain.

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RESIDENT VISA

Discover your path to permanent residency in New Zealand with our expert advice on obtaining a Resident Visa.

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FAMILY VISA

Reunite with loved ones in New Zealand with our expert support on Family Visas.

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Investor Visa

Achieve residence of  New Zealand with our expert guidance on Investor Visas.

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STUDENT VISA

Unlock a world-class education experience in New Zealand with Student Visas.

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VISITOR VISA

Explore New Zealand's beauty and culture with a Visitor Visa.

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I have a complicated Immigration issue

Navigating the intricate landscape of immigration law can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with issues like overstaying, visa cancellations, and complex appeals. Our dedicated support service is here to provide expert guidance and assistance for the most complicated immigration matters, ensuring you have the best chance for a favorable outcome.

I am an EmployeR

Seeking to hire offshore employees and require expert immigration services to expedite my accreditation process, ensuring both the resilience and compliance of my business.

Meet Our Expert Team 

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Tim McSweeney

Immigration Lawyer

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Kera WanG

Senior Consultant

Head of Asia Business

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Kim Saran Lee

Immigration Lawyer

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Danica Bandojo

Immigration Consultant

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Sophya Guimarães

Immigration Consultan

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  • I want to come to New Zealand to begin working. How do I do this?
    In order to work in NZ you will firstly need the 'work rights' that come with a work visa or resident visa. To obtain one of these visas you will need an offer of employment from an accredited employer. The job offer will also need to meet the current median wage ($29.66 per hour, although exceptions exist in certain industries). You will also need to meet any skill, qualification or work experience requirements.
  • I now have a job offer from an employer, how do I start the work visa process?
    Once you have a job offer from an accredited employer, the next step would be for the employer to complete a Job Check with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) - where they haven't done so already. INZ's job check ensures the role meets all relevant immigration and employment criteria; and may also require the role to have been advertised to ensure no New Zealanders are available to do the job. Once the job check has been approved you will be able to prepare and lodge your Accredited Employer Work Visa.
  • I am an employer, and would like to hire workers from offshore. What do I need to do?
    To sponsor a migrant worker, employers need to follow two essential steps: completing an accreditation application and a job check application. The first step is to become accredited with INZ as an employer. The type of accreditation required depends on the number of offshore employees the employer intends to hire. Once accreditation is obtained, the next step is to complete a job check. After the job check application is approved, a job token or job tokens will be made available. These tokens need to be shared with the respective employee who will use them to apply for a work visa.
  • What is a Job Check?
    Depending on the role that is to be offered to a migrant worker, an employer may need to advertise the position in the NZ labour market for at least 2 weeks. The advertisement must also include specific information related to the job (payrate, hours, location etc). Priority should be given to suitable New Zealand residents and citizens, but at the conclusion of advertising, if none can be found a Job Check application can be lodged.
  • I already hold a valid work visa that is linked to my current employer and job. I now want to switch employer, and/or job role, and/or location. Do I need to apply for a new visa?
    You can apply for a Job Change instead of applying for a new work visa. However, this depends on multiple factors (e.g. your new pay rate, your new job role, your qualifications). We recommend contacting a lawyer to determine if a new work visa or a Job Change is more appropriate for your new employment.
  • Can my family come with me to New Zealand?
    If you hold an Accredited Employer Work Visa, you may be able to sponsor your partner and dependent children for associated visas. However, eligibility is subject to your income level. For more detailed information, please see our article: Visas for AEWV Holders' Family Members.
  • How long does the application process take?
    The assessment is generally completed within 10 working days from the date you submit the application. However, providing insufficient documents or other complications (e.g., health or character issues) may result in delays to the process. For more detailed information, please see our article: Accredited Employer Work Visa - All You Need to Know.
  • How many years will the work visa be granted for?
    If you are paid the median wage ($29.66) or higher, you will be granted a work visa for up to 5 years. However, if your wage is below this threshold, the visa duration may be up to two years. There are exceptions for certain roles that are on INZ's exemption list. For detailed information, please read: AEWV Roles Exempt from Paying the Median Wage.
  • Can I apply for a resident visa under partnership if I am not married?
    Yes, you can apply for a resident visa under partnership in New Zealand even if you are not married. The policy does not specifically require marriage. However, it does require that you and your partner have lived together in a genuine and stable relationship for a minimum of 12 months in order to be eligible. It's important to note that there are additional requirements that need to be met also.
  • Can same-sex couples apply for a resident visa under partnership?
    Yes, same-sex couples can apply for a resident visa under partnership in New Zealand. NZ provides recognition to same-gender relationships. However, you will need to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that you and your partner are living together in a genuine and stable relationship for a minimum of 12 months as part of the application process.
  • How long does the relationship need to have been for a partnership work or visitor visa?
    For temporary visa applications such as partnership work visas and partnership visitor visas, there is no minimum time requirement for the length of the relationship. However, you are required to demonstrate the genuineness and stability of the relationship, and the duration of the relationship can be strong evidence in proving this. On the other hand, for partnership resident visa applications, you are required to show that you and your partner have lived together for a minimum of 12 months as one of the requirements.
  • Can I apply for a partnership visa if I’m currently not living together with my partner?
    Yes, you can still apply for a partnership visa. However, you must provide evidence that there are genuine and compelling reasons for the period of separation; and that you and your partner are committed to each other with the clear intention to have a long-term partnership.
  • Is an interview required as part of the partnership visa application process?
    This may vary depending on the Immigration office that assesses your application. If deemed necessary, the officer will contact your legal representative to schedule an interview. Typically, you and your partner will be interviewed separately, and the length of the interview can vary from 15 minutes to hours.
  • How long does it take to process a resident visa application under partnership?
    This can vary depending on the efficiency of Immigration New Zealand at the time of processing. Generally, it can take anywhere from 4 months to 15 months. However, it's important to note that these timelines are approximate and subject to changes.
  • Can I include my children from a previous relationship in a resident visa application under partnership with my new partner?
    The inclusion of your children from a previous relationship in the resident visa application under partnership will depend on the type of custody rights you have. The starting point is that you have the legal rights to remove the child from their home country; and/or provide evidence of any necessary consents from the other parent. It is important to provide the appropriate evidence regarding custody arrangements when including dependent children in your application.
  • Am I eligible to sponsor another partner if I have previously sponsored one?
    Yes, you can sponsor another partner if you have sponsored only one other partner before, and the previous sponsorship took place at least five years ago. New Zealand citizens and residents can support only 1 partner for residence in a 5-year period, and support only 2 partners for residence in total. If you can't support your partner for residence now, but will be able to within 12 months, you can still support a work or visitor visa now. Partners who obtained their residence via the partnership category can only sponsor one person for residency and the above 5-year rule applies.
  • Can I sponsport a partner if I was sponsored?
    Yes, you are eligible to sponsor one partner as long as you have not been included as a partner in a successful residence application within the last five years.
  • What is the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) in New Zealand?
    The SMC is a pathway to residence, which allows skilled individuals from overseas to live and work in the country permanently. It is designed to attract highly skilled workers who can contribute to New Zealand's economy and fill skill shortages in specific industries. You must either have a skilled job in New Zealand or a job offer from a New Zealand employer to be considered under this category.
  • What are the basic requirements for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident visa?
    You must have a skilled job in New Zealand or a job offer from a New Zealand employer. You must have a minimum of 6 points, which can be obtained through New Zealand professional registration, qualifications, or income, regardless of whether you have skilled work experience in New Zealand. You need to meet the minimum income threshold requirement. You must meet the English language requirements. You must be of good character and in good health.
  • Can I include my family members in my Skilled Migrant Category Resident visa application?
    Yes, you can include your partner and dependent children who are under 25 years old as secondary applicants in your application. However, to be eligible, it is a requirement that you and your partner have lived together in a genuine and stable relationship for a minimum of 12 months. Additionally, your dependent children must be single with no children of their own and financially dependent on you (one or more criteria apply depending on their age). Note that children who are under 16 may also require evidence of custody if you are separated from the other parent.
  • What are ANZSCO skill levels?
    ANZSCO (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) skill levels are a classification system used to categorize occupations based on the skill level required for the job. There are 5 levels, levels 1 to 3 are categorized as medium to high skill levels, while levels 4 and 5 are classified as low skill levels.
  • Are there any specific occupation requirements for the Skilled Migrant Category?
    Yes. Applicants may be required to provide evidence of relevant qualifications or work experience in order to qualify for a skilled job. And, the income requirement may differ depending on the ANZSCO skill level for the occupation.
  • Do I need a job offer to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident visa?
    Yes. You must either have a skilled job in New Zealand or a job offer from a New Zealand employer.
  • Are there any age restrictions for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident visa?
    Yes, the age limit is 55. If you’re 55 or younger and want to live in NZ permanently, you can apply for a resident visa, or a work visa that leads to residence after working here for 2 years.
  • What are the English language requirements for the Skilled Migrant Resident Category visa?
    The English language requirements can be met through various means. including (subject to further details): Citizenship in an English-speaking country and at least five years of work or study in that country. Recognized qualifications obtained in English-speaking countries. Achieving satisfactory scores in recognized English language tests.
  • Can I apply for a Skilled Migrant Resident visa if I am already in New Zealand on another visa?
    Yes, you are required to be on a valid visa when you submit your SMC RV application if you are in New Zealand. If you are outside of New Zealand and do not have a visa, you can use the same job offer to apply for a work visa subject to your employer meeting other relevant checks.
  • When can I apply for a New Zealand Permanent Resident Visa?
    To apply for a Permanent Resident Visa (PRV) in New Zealand, you generally need to hold a Resident Visa for at least 24 months. The 24-month period starts from the first day you are physically present in New Zealand as a resident. After meeting this requirement, you can apply for a PRV, subject to fulfilling other eligibility criteria.
  • I have just renewed my passport. Do I need to apply for a new visa?
    You will need to transfer your visa to your new passport. This is not a new visa application, and it does not change any conditions already present in your current visa. This is an important process, and you must ensure that your visa is linked to your NEW passport number.
  • Will my residence visa expire?
    Your residence visa will not expire as long as you remain in New Zealand. However, your visa label will have 'travel conditions' specified - this usually has an expiry date of 2 years from the grant of your residence visa. Your residence visa will expire if you leave New Zealand with expired travel conditions, or if you leave New Zealand and plan on returning after the expiry of your travel conditions. There are options to extend your travel conditions, or to apply for a permanent resident visa (as long as you meet the requirements) if you are planning on leaving the country soon with expired/expiring travel conditions. We suggest contacting us to talk through the options you may have.
  • I applied and received my resident visa while offshore, how long do I have to activate my visa?
    In general, a resident visa holder who was granted a visa while outside New Zealand will have 12 months to activate their visa. Once they enter New Zealand and activate their visa, the travel conditions attached to the visa will be valid for 2 years from the date of activation.
  • I’ve got a degree completed overseas, can this be recognised in New Zealand?
    Some international qualifications are recognised in New Zealand, but others must be assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). NZQA may check whether your qualification is recognised in New Zealand for a charge – you can visit their website at: Recognise Overseas Qualifications.
  • Where can I get my NZ immigration medicals completed?
    If you are required to complete medicals as part of your visa application requirements, you will need to complete these with an INZ-approved panel physician. You can follow this link to find one nearest you: Panel Physicians.
  • Where can I get my police certificates for NZ immigration from?
    Each country has a dedicated police or government agency and INZ will accept police certificates issued by these official bodies. If you are required to submit any police certificates with your visa application, you can follow this link to get details on obtaining these: Police Certificates.

New Zealand Immigration News and Updates

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