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Visas for doing Business in New Zealand

Friday 13 November 2015

There is no separate Visa for someone to visit New Zealand just to do business. Accordingly, people wishing to come here to do business need to apply for the appropriate Visas to enable them to spend time in New Zealand legally.

A person on a Visitor’s Visa is not allowed to “undertake employment”. Business visitors are not considered to be undertaking employment if they are one of the following:

  1. Representatives on an official trade mission recognised by the New Zealand Government.
  2. Sales representatives of overseas companies.
  3. Overseas buyers of goods and services.
  4. People undertaking business consultations or negotiations in New Zealand.

In regards to the last three categories of people, they are allowed no more than 3 months in New Zealand in any calendar year. It should be noted that the “business negotiations or consultations” under (4) above applies to people senior in the organisation who is authorised to represent a company.

For senior people who wish to work beyond 3 months in any calendar year, then they will need to apply for a special Work Visa. Evidence must be provided to show they have genuine reasons which require them to be in New Zealand exceeding 3 months in any one year.

For those who are not sufficiently senior to qualify as representatives, one may consider the “Corporate Work Visas”. These however must involve one of the following:

If one does not qualify for any of the above, one will need to examine the more ordinary types of Work Visas, such as Essential Skills or Employer Accredited Work Visas. Essential Skills is most often used, although it requires the employer to conduct a “labour market test” to show that there are no available New Zealanders to do the work. The Accredited Employer Work Visa on the other hand requires the employer to show that there is general need to bring in highly skilled overseas persons for the business and that the business is a good employer of New Zealanders in the first place.

Navigating through the above myriad of rules is complex and requires sound advice and judgment. It is not a good idea for a company wanting to do business long term in New Zealand to start off on the wrong foot with Immigration New Zealand by not having the right Visas for its business executives and workers. 

If you require legal advice, contact Teresa Chan at Teresa Chan Law Limited, Level 3, Westpac Building, 106 George Street, Dunedin 9016, ph. 477 1069, or email teresa@tchanlaw.co.nz  If you are a Mandarin speaker, please ring Xiaoyan Mu at (022) 694 9917.


Note: The information in this article is general only. You should seek advice for specific situations.

KEYWORDS: visa, business, visitors, essential skills, work visa, employment
Otago Chamber of Commerce Dunedin Shanghai Association