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Navigating the Catch-22: New Zealand Job Offers and Visa Applications

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

New Zealand’s skilled migrant framework throws a significant hurdle into the path of those eager to make the move to this part of the world. The seemingly paradoxical requirement to have a job offered in New Zealand to acquire a visa has led to a catch-22 scenario for many aspiring migrants.

We’re delving into the issue and the strategies individuals can employ to overcome the challenge. So if you’re beginning to plan a move to New Zealand, stick around for some advice from experienced immigration lawyers.

The conundrum explained

The requirement to have a job offer before applying for a work or resident visa has created a very tricky situation for prospective migrants. It looks like this: they must secure a job offer prior to obtaining a work or resident visa, but many employers require a visa before they will offer a job. The issue is clear!

This conundrum has left many talented and skilled individuals in a frustrating limbo, unable to secure employment due to their lack of a visa and unable to acquire a visa due to the absence of a job offer.

Strategies for obtaining a New Zealand job offer

Navigating this catch-22 situation requires creativity, perseverance, and a strategic approach. Having worked with thousands of people who have succeeded in this journey over the years, we know there is no one size that fits all. However, we do have some suggested strategies which may help you to succeed.

Your approach will vary depending on your circumstances: whether you are onshore or offshore, the demand for your skills, the time you can commit to the process, and other factors. Start with these three key actions:

1. Online job platforms for NZ jobs:

Make use of online job platforms that allow candidates to connect with New Zealand employers. Popular websites like Seek and Trade Me Jobs are the most comprehensive and sometimes list positions open to migrants.

The catch-22 is highlighted here though, as anyone having spent some time on either of these sites can attest to. A large number of ads will require the right to work in NZ in order to apply. It’s still definitely worth looking; just make sure you’re looking in the right places.

2. Direct applications to NZ employers

Many candidates have found success by directly reaching out to companies they are interested in, even if they haven't advertised job vacancies. Demonstrating a clear understanding of the company's needs and how you can contribute can pique the interest of potential employers.

Of course, under New Zealand immigration law, an employer now needs to be accredited with Immigration New Zealand to employ migrants. So maximise your chances—you can find out whether a prospective employer is accredited here.

3. Networking

A strong professional network will stand you in good stead. It is important for migrants to research the NZ labour market and think about how and where they can apply their skills. Connecting with local industry players can help by leading to introductions or suggestions on how to approach the job search in a given industry. New Zealanders are generally a friendly bunch, and usually won’t mind sharing some local industry knowledge.

New Zealand work visas: the employer's perspective

It's important to understand the employers' side of this equation. Many companies are hesitant to offer positions to candidates who don't yet possess the right to work due to perceived complexity and risk involved in sponsoring work visas. They might also be concerned about the uncertainty of the immigration process, including potential delays or denials.

In many cases, the risks involved are real. But with a competent immigration professional to manage the process—including all third-party communication—there is a great chance of success. Some employers are aware of this, and therefore won’t limit their talent searches to onshore employees only.

Get the right help

The requirement to have a job offer before obtaining a work or resident visa in New Zealand presents a significant hurdle for many aspiring migrants. However, with determination, strategic planning, and perseverance, it is possible to navigate this complex scenario.

As experts in this field, we know what works! We’ve been through this process thousands of times with people from all walks of life. As a first step in this process, we always suggest a prospective migrant have an individual consultation with us. These generally last for about one hour and there is a cost for this of NZ$350. The consultation gives us the chance to assess a person’s eligibility and where they qualify, then outline a pathway that, if followed, will result in success.

If you’re ready to take that first step, get in touch with our team today.



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