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Employers in New Zealand must prove they are unable to find a suitable employee for the position in New Zealand before they hire someone from overseas. If no New Zealanders are suitably qualified or experienced for the job, the employer can get an Approval in Principle from the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS). The candidate then applies for the Work Visa with a written offer of employment, proofs of qualification and work experience, and an Approval in Principle from the NZIS.
Once a Work Visa is granted, the employee may apply for a further Work Permit on arrival in New Zealand.
Employees need to apply for Work Visa first. If they are successful, they get the endorsement to their passports. This allows them to enter and re-enter New Zealand freely. However, the endorsement is not the Work Permit - they will need to apply for it once they are in the country.
Employees are allowed to work in New Zealand with a valid Work Permit only. Work Visa do not represent, nor replace the Work Permit.
The Work Permit is issued for a specific employer and a specific position in the employer's company.
Work Permits are valid for a period of three years. Once they expire, new applications have to be made again.