South Island Contribution Work Visa

The newly released South Island Contribution work visa offers a pathway to residency. It’s for you if you have an Essential Skills work visa and have worked for 5 years continuously since 22 May 2012. You still have to be working and all your work must have been in the South Island.

The New Zealand government offers this pathway to a resident visa for a limited time. They wish to recognise well-settled migrants who have made a contribution to New Zealand but who otherwise do not meet the requirements for a resident visa. You can wonder why this was limited to just the South Island as there are many migrants on the North Island who contribute to New Zealand and the economy for 5 years or more.

But back to the South Island Contribution visa. People who are eligible will get a 30 month Work to Residence work visa and can apply for residency after 24 months have passed. You need to have an offer of employment or proof of ongoing employment when you apply for the South Island contribution visa. After the resident visa is granted you need to stay in this employment for another 2 years.

Also be mindful that you may change jobs during this period but that you have to stay within the industry that is associated with the occupation that is on your Essential Skills work visa at the time you apply for the South Island Contribution visa. You also need to stay in the same region.

Important Requirements

You must meet, among, others, the following requirements if you wish to apply for a South Island Contribution visa:

  •  55 years of age or younger when you apply for the South Island Contribution work visa
  • apply before 18 May 2018
  • hold an Essential Skills work visa and be in full time employment in the South Island
  • have held an Essential Skills work visa since, at least, 22 May 2012 and have been in continuous employment between 22 May 2012 and 22 May 2017.
  • have an offer of employment for at least 24 months or proof of ongoing employment for at least 24 months
  • meet health and character requirements

Partner and Dependent Child(ren)

Your partner may be able to get a work visa, while your dependent children might get a visitor, student or work visa depending on their circumstances. Their visas are valid for the same period as that of the principal applicant.

The possibility for dependent children to get a work visa is quite remarkable. Usually, dependent children only qualify for visitor or student visas. Because as soon as they work they are no longer seen as dependent.

Work visas for dependent children may be granted if the child is:

  • 19 years or younger
  • completed compulsory schooling up till the age of 16
  • are dependent at the time they apply

South Island Contribution Resident Visa

Once you hold a South Island Contribution work visa for 24 months you may apply for a resident visa. You must meet the same requirements as for the work visa, including for employment. At this point, you will have worked on the South Island for at least 7 years. A minimum of 5 years on your Essential Skills work visa and another 2 years on your South Island Contribution visa.

You may include your partner and dependent children in your resident visa application. When the visa is granted it will have conditions on it. One condition is that you must continue to work for another 2 years on the South Island in the industry associated with your occupation and in the region you have been working.

Want to know more?

Let me help you find out if you can apply for this visa. I will also tell you what evidence you need. I can, of course, manage your application for you as well. Please contact me for a quote.

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Feija van Bokhoven is the Managing Director of Experienz Immigration as well as a Licensed Immigration Adviser. In this capacity she has helped numerous clients obtain a visa for New Zealand and helped them fulfill their dream of living in New Zealand.  

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