Q. What is a Talent
The Talent Visa is a work visa or
work permit that is designed to attract highly skilled and talented people
to live and work in New Zealand. One of the main attractions of the Talent
Visa is that, after living here for two years, the Talent Visa holders
wanting to stay in New Zealand they can make a straightforward transition
to permanent residence provided they have ongoing employment and meet
health and character requirements.
is the Work-to-Residence Programme?
The Work-to-Residence Programme
provides options for employers seeking to attract talented people to live
and work here. The programme is called Work-to-Residence because itís
major advantage is that people who come to new Zealand through this
programme can become New Zealand residents after two years, provided they
meet some basic criteria. There are three work-to-residence options to
suit the different circumstances of employers. The Three Options are:
This enables cultural and sporting
organisations with a high national reputation to sponsor talented people
to come to New Zealand to work if they are considered to have an
exceptional talent in the fields of arts, culture or sports.
- Talent (Accredited Employers)
This allows employers that are likely to recruit regularly from
overseas to be accredited by Government, to offer genuine employment
to talented people. People with job offers from accredited employers
will be given Talent Visas, a fast, more streamlined process than
other work permits and visas.
- Priority Occupations This
enables employers to offer work to people who are in occupations that
the Government identifies as "priorities", usually because
of an ongoing skills shortage in those occupations.
- Arts, Culture and Sports
Do we Need a Talent Visa?
New Zealand faces increasing
competition in the global marketplace. What is certain is that any economy
that is going to succeed needs to be flexible. This policy demonstrates
that we are able to take a more flexible view of the way we attract talent
in the short to medium term. The days of having a long-term entrenched
policy for immigration are over. We need to have a range of policies that
are tailored to meet the diverse and changing needs of the global economy
and labour market.
confident is the government that it will attract talented
people in sufficient numbers to make a difference
to the economy?
It is difficult to predict. The
number of Talent Visa applications, for example, will largely depend on
the number of employers applying for accreditation. The government expects
that we will be able to attract enough talent to boost the performance of
our enterprise and innovation sectors.
Different About Applying for Residence through the
If you are a Talent Visa holder or
working here through the Work-to-Residence Programme becoming a new
Zealand resident is more straightforward than applying through the General
Skills Category. Applicants for residence through the General Skills
category are awarded points for age, skills, qualifications and a job
offer in New Zealand, particularly one linked to skills and
qualifications. Other health and character criteria must also be met.
Applicants for residence through the Work-to-Residence Programme need to
have met the criteria of their work visas and permits, have an ongoing
offer of employment and meet health and character requirements.
the difference between a Talent Visa and a visa gained
through being on the Priority Occupations List?
With the talent visa, employers can
make the judgement about what constitutes "talent" - that it's
up to them. As long as they are accredited employers, then the people they
recruit will be given "Talent Visas". The Priority Occupations
List is about helping employers speed up the process of filling specific
job vacancies where those vacancies are for occupations where acknowledged
skills shortages exist. People with Talent Visas and people with visas and
permits through the Priority Occupations List both qualify for New Zealand
residence after two years.
do employers need to be accredited to access the Talent
If we are going to attract talent to
New Zealand we need to ensure that we gain a reputation for offering a
stable working environment. We want to ensure that employers who are
accredited to attract talented people are able to provide a working
environment that can support these people when they come to work here.
That means we need to ensure that employers of Talent Visa holders have
the resource to provide them with employment and support while they are
here. Because the "Talent Visa" is a work visa or permit, no job
means that the Talent Visa will expire.
types of employer does the government have in mind
who would become accredited employers?
The accreditation process will be
designed to facilitate the entry of talented people to New Zealand across
a wide range of sectors. The policy is targeting the high innovation and
enterprise sectors, but other sectors could benefit too.
these policies ensure employers simply by-pass New
Zealanders in favour of cheaper overseas workers?
The Talent Visa policy is about
attracting highly skilled people. Highly skilled people do not fall into
the low-income bracket. There is a minimum salary of NZ$45,000 per annum
attached to this policy to ensure that it cannot be used to bring in cheap
labour. Also recruiting overseas is usually costly and research clearly
shows that New Zealand employers will, in general, recruit from within New
Zealand first. As far as the Priority Occupations policy is concerned,
this policy is to help employers recruit in occupations where there are no
New Zealanders available. The essential differences from the Work Permit
are that the red tape has gone and it has a route to residence.
these policies act as a disincentive for New Zealand
employers to provide staff/employee training?
A commitment to training will be
expected of accredited employers. We would also expect that New Zealand
staff would benefit in their knowledge and skills by working alongside
Talent Visa holders.
the Talent Visa are you creating a new residence category?
The Talent Visa is a work visa or
permit, not a new category of residence. However, after two years the
Talent Visa holder will be able to apply for residence. Highly talented
people are the people we want to attract to New Zealand as residents and
as long as they meet the basic residence criteria of health and character,
and in this case, an ongoing offer of employment, they will be welcome to
other countries have these types of policy?
Singapore has an equivalent Talent
Visa scheme in operation that works very well. Britain also has similar
schemes in place.
I come to New Zealand on a Talent Visa even if I donít
want to stay long-term?
purpose of the talent visa is to attract talented people,
and they are welcomed in the short or long-term. While
we would like those people to stay and contribute to
New Zealand for many years, this is snot an essential
feature of the Talent Visa or Work-to-Residence Programme.
The residence from work provisions of this programme
is only one of its benefits. The other is the speed
at which Talent Visas can be processed for people with
genuine job offers from Ďaccredited employersí.
I apply for residence before Iíve been here two years?
you can apply for residence at any time, but you will
need to apply through the General Skills Category and
compete with other applicants on a points basis.
What happens if Iím a Talent Visa holder and I resign
or Iím sacked from my job with an accredited employer?
The Talent Visa is a work visa or
permit and no job would mean that your work permit would expire. If you
quit a job, in order to keep your Talent Visa, you would need to work for
another employer "accredited" through the Work-to-Residence
Programme. If you quit your job with the accredited employer and found
work with another non-accredited employer you would forfeit your Talent
Visa and would need to apply for a General Work permit. In this case, your
new non-accredited employer would need to demonstrate that there were no
New Zealanders available to do the job. In exceptional circumstances, for
example, where an accredited employer is de-accredited, and you are forced
to find other work, but not necessarily with an accredited employer, the
NZIS has the discretion to make a variation to your Talent Visa. This
variation would allow you to retain the residence from work rights.
I come to New Zealand on a Talent Visa, how certain
can I be that I can become a New Zealand resident
in two years?
The purpose of the Talent Visa is to
provide as much certainty as possible about making the transition from
work to residence. Because the criteria for becoming a resident after two
years are straightforward and clearly identified before you get the Talent
Visa, meeting those criteria is up to you. As long as you meet them you
will be eligible for New Zealand residence.
age does the Talent Visa cut out?
People can apply for Talent Visas up
to and including 55 years of age. There is no age limit for people coming
to work here through the Priority Occupations List. However, for these
people to become New Zealand residents after two years they will need to
be 55 years of age or younger at the time they become eligible to apply
for permanent residence.
Talent Visa holders be eligible for publicly funded
Yes, because they intend staying in
New Zealand for two or more years under the scheme.
Talent Visa holders have access to the benefit system?
No. People on Talent Visas and other
visas and permits through the work to residence programme do not have
access to the benefit system. They would only be entitled to access the
benefit system two years after they are granted permanent residence.
the Symphony Orchestra, for example, be able to employ
a talented violinist under the Talent Visa scheme?
The NZSO has access to Talent Visas
through two options. It could become and accredited employer and directly
employ a violinist or it could sponsor that person through the Arts,
Culture and Sports option.
my spouse or partner travel with me and work in New
Yes, they can. If you are applying
for a Talent Visa or a work permit or visa through the work-t-Residence
programme, you are the "principal applicant". The same rules
apply for spouses and partners of Talent Visa holders as apply for any
spouse or partner accompanying a "principal applicant" to New
Zealand on a work permit.
my spouse or partner be eligible for residence after
two years also?
Yes. Again the same rules apply for
spouses and partners of talent Visa holders as apply for the spouses and
partners of anyone applying for New Zealand residence under normal rules.
They need to meet health and character requirements and some English
long will it take to become accredited?
Accreditation is the critical part
of the Talent Visa process so it is essential that the Government is
satisfied that employers who are accredited can meet their obligations
towards the people they are recruiting to work and live here. So the
length of the accreditation process depends on what is known about the
employer. The NZIS will keep in close communication with each employer so
there is a clear expectation of how long the process will take for them.
The validation will include checks with ERS, WHS, ACC and the relevant
trade union. But once employers are accredited, then the process of making
a job offer to a talented person and that person gaining a Talent Visa is
much does it cost to become an accredited employer?
The cost of accreditation is $1,500
in the first year (incl GST) and annual re-accreditation is $400 (incl GST)
each year. Accreditation is for 12 months and can be renewed on an annual
long will it take to process Talent Visa/permit applications?
The NZIS is proposing a service
guarantee of 5 days decision or notification as to when the decision will
be made. As this is a new policy, it is proposed that this guarantee is
set for six months. Some offices may be able to process faster.