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Living & Working in New Zealand – A guide for Canadians looking to work in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most highly sought after foreign destinations for many Canadians, not only to vacation, but also to work. Many jobs are seasonal, but with its spectacular geography and modern economy, many Canadians are flocking there for temporary or permanent employment.  

Obtaining a Work Visa for New Zealand. 

New Zealand’s work visa program is primarily based on an Employer sponsorship system and is very similar to the Australian visa work program as it favors those applicants wishing to work in New Zealand that meet certain skill requirements. Applying for a work visa depends on the type of work category you fall into and the various steps to applying for one can be found here:

Types of New Zealand Work Visas

There are three primary work visas issued by the New Zealand government.

Temporary Work Visa – This type of visa allows you to work in New Zealand temporarily. The term of your work visa will be dependent on the type of work you are doing. Requirements for all temporary work visas include: you must be in good health and of good character, have a passport that is valid for at least three months past the date when you are planning on leaving New Zealand, have a genuine interest in working in New Zealand. There are also special requirements depending on your work situation which you can see here:

Working Holiday Scheme – This visa is designed for young citizens of Canada aged 18 to 35 years old that allows them to work for up to 12 months. Additional requirements for this work visa include: A valid Canadian passport for at least three months after your planned return date from New Zealand, you must not bring any children with you, hold a valid return ticket to Canada, have a minimum of NZ$4000 in available funds during your stay in New Zealand, and you must have not been approved a visa under a Working Holiday Scheme before.  Find out more here:

Permanent Work Visa – Obtaining this type of work Visa for New Zealand has a different set of requirements. These are dependent on the work category that you fall into. Find out more here:

Criminal Background Check Requirements for Australian Work Visas

The New Zealand government requires a “police certificate” (a criminal background check by the RCMP if you are a Canadian citizen) to prove you are of good character under the following conditions:

  1. You are 17 years of age or older and you seeking permanent residence in New Zealand.
  2. You are 17 years of age and you are intending to stay in New Zealand for work or study for 24 months or longer.

Additionally, many companies in New Zealand will require an official criminal background check to be performed by the RCMP and submitted to them before they offer you a work contract.  

Pacific Fingerprint can help you with this step, which includes taking your fingerprints and preparing a C-216C fingerprint form as well as submitting your criminal background check application to the RCMP using encrypted software on your behalf.  Click here for more details on how we can help. (

Find out more about obtaining work visas and working in Australia: 


Please note that while we try to keep the information on this page as accurate as possible, foreign immigration requirements and policies change all the time. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the official Immigration New Zealand website:

Pacific Fingerprint does not provide any services related to obtaining a New Zealand work visa, with the exception of any necessary fingerprinting services for the purpose of a criminal background check that the New Zealand government or your place of employment may require.

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