News

Specific Purpose Work Visa for Business People

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This article was prepared in May 2013. It is intended as general information and not specific legal advice. If you want legal advice about a problem, you can contact the author below.

Introduction

The specific purpose work visa allows business people to travel to New Zealand for a specific business purpose or event.  Once that purpose or event is finalised, the business person must leave New Zealand.

If you are looking to obtain a general work visa so that you can work for a New Zealand employer, this article is not going to be much help to you.  Instead, you should be looking into applying for an essential skills work visa.

 

Short-Term Secondments

You may be eligible for a specific purpose work visa if you are a senior business person on a short term secondment (12 months or 24 months – see below) to a substantial New Zealand company or a New Zealand subsidiary of an overseas company.

 

What's a substantial New Zealand company?

I do not know.  There is no definition for Immigration New Zealand ("INZ") regard as substantial.  If a New Zealand company employs over 100 people, a strong case can certainly be made that the company, on the face it, meets the definition of substantial.  The financials of the company will also be a factor for consideration.  In other words, the assessment will always be on a case by case basis.

 

How long will the work visa be for?

Twelve months or less depending on the purpose of your secondment to the New Zealand company.  If there are good reasons for a longer secondment, there is scope for a further 12 months (making a total of 24 months) to be granted to complete the purpose of the secondment.

 

Long-Term Secondments

If the secondment is for a longer period, say between three-six years, you might still be eligible for a specific purpose work visa if:

  1. You are a senior business person who has been employed by your organisation for at least 12 months prior to making the specific purpose work visa application.
  2. Your organisation is a multinational company.
  3. You are being seconded to a New Zealand company which is part of the multinational group.

 

How long will the work visa be for?

Three years or less depending on the purpose of your secondment.  If there are good reasons for a longer secondment, there is scope for a further three years (making a total of six years) to be granted to complete the purpose of the secondment.

 

Do not fit into either of the above categories?

There is a 'catch-all' provision in the specific purpose work visa category that allows people to come to New Zealand for any other specific purpose or event provided that the applicant does not offend the objectives of the specific purpose work visa policy.

What are the objectives of the specific purpose work visa policy?

In a nutshell, it is all about bringing benefit to New Zealand without risk of impacting upon employment opportunities in New Zealand.  The assessment is not cut and dry.

 

Want to know more about business visas to New Zealand?

Talk to Kishen Kommu.  Kishen is an Associate at McVeagh Fleming specialising in the areas of immigration law and civil litigation. Kishen can be contacted on +64 9 306 6748 or by email (kkommu@mcveaghfleming.co.nz).