NZ: New immigration policies for Chinese as a result of FTA

25 September 2008


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On 01 October 2008, a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will come into force between New Zealand and China. Several new immigration policies were agreed upon as part of the FTA negotiations, including a Chinese Skilled Workers policy and a Working Holiday Scheme.

The China Skilled Workers policy allows Chinese nationals to enter New Zealand for temporary employment in a very limited number of occupations, without the need for a labour market test.

These occupations include:

However, applicants will be subject to particular job qualifications and work experience requirements. Certain occupations will require the applicant to be registered. A job offer is also mandatory.

In addition, a maximum of 1000 skilled Chinese workers at any one time can be employed for up to three years in specific skilled shortage occupations in New Zealand. Entry will be limited to 100 workers for each occupation at any one time. The list of occupations is as follows:

New Zealand has also established a Working Holiday Scheme with China. The scheme will allow up to 1000 young, well-educated Chinese nationals per year to enter New Zealand and work while on an extended holiday. The scheme is expected to help meet labour shortages in areas such as the hospitality, horticulture, and viticulture industries.

The scheme will require applicants to have the equivalent of a NZ seventh form diploma, have a minimum of NZ $4200 in available funds to finance their stay. Applicants will also need to speak English at least at functional level. While an open work permit will be issued that is good for one year, applicants are not allowed to work for any one employer for more than three months.