How to Get a Partner Visa in New Zealand

Personally, I find interracial relationships a wonderful thing. There’s just something about a partnership that transcends geographical, linguistic, and cultural barriers.

Plus, they tend to result in some awfully cute children (who eventually turn into instant celebrities in the Philippines later on, not because they’re especially talented but simply because they’re half-white, but I digress).

All that fluff aside, the practicalities of such a relationship can be quite tedious. If we are to assume that the individuals involved would like to live together eventually, someone will have to apply for a visa at some point.

And while people like applying for visas as much as I like writing about them, the process to get a partner visa in New Zealand is actually more straightforward than most. Let’s take a look:

What a New Zealand Partner Visa Allows You to Do

What a New Zealand Partner Visa Allows You to Do

If you are granted residence in New Zealand based on your having a partner who is a citizen or a resident, you can live, work, and/or study in this island nation indefinitely. This visa also allows you to include any children (aged 24 years and under) that you and your partner might have in your application.

Do note that if your partner is either an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident, you can still apply for this partner visa so long as your significant other lives in New Zealand.

If the two of you have been living outside of New Zealand for five years or more but your partner is an NZ citizen, you can apply for an NZ permanent resident card so long as your partner remains abroad or has been back in the country for less than three (3) months during the application period.

How to Qualify for One

Immigration New Zealand defines a partnership as two people of the opposite or same sex in a genuine or stable relationship, be it a legal marriage, a civil union, or a de facto relationship. It’s also ideal if one of the partners is an NZ citizen or passport holder. That person is then considered the supporting partner.

Either partner must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age or older or failing that, have the consent of their respective parents or guardians;
  • Have been acquainted with each other before applying for this visa;
  • Not be related to each other.

Those interested to apply for this kind of visa may need to present evidence of partnership, including but not limited to the following documents:

  • Marriage or civil union certificates;
  • Birth certificates for any children you’ve had together;
  • Photos together;
  • Joint tenancy or rental agreements/home loans;
  • Joint bank accounts;
  • Joint credit card statements;
  • Joint purchase agreements;
  • Joint utilities accounts, such as phone or power bills;
  • Cards, letters, emails, and social media conversations.

Lastly, there’s a possibility that Immigration New Zealand may require a police certificate to vouch for an applicant’s character requirements. Needless to say, convictions for domestic violence or sexual abuse will compromise and perhaps automatically invalidate a candidate’s application as these are not in line with the country’s values.

How to Apply for a New Zealand Partner Visa

How to Apply for a New Zealand Partner Visa

It generally takes about four (4) months for the authorities to reach a decision on each partner visa application, which makes for an interesting symmetry with the four (4) basic steps for applying:

1. Your supporting partner needs to fill out a Partnership Support Form for Residence (INZ 1178), which can be accessed here. You would then attach this, along with other supporting documents like the supporting partner’s proof of residence or a scan of their passport, to your own application.

2. Fill out the Residence Application Form (INZ 1000) and submit it to Immigration New Zealand along with your application fee, immigration levy and supporting documents. Don’t forget to include your supporting partner’s paperwork from Step 1.

3. Wait for a decision. If you need to supply anything else, the immigration department will be in touch.

4. Fly to New Zealand. Once your visa application gets approved, of course. Good luck!

Bear in mind that New Zealand has other partner visa options, such as for work visas or student visas.

These, however, are usually better suited for short-term arrangements, such as when your partner or spouse plans to return to their home country after a period of, say, three months. You can, of course, look into these options as well, or simply stay tuned on our blog until we roll out an article on the same.

Applying for Your New Zealand Skilled Migrant Visa 101

One of the most popular ways for Filipinos to migrate to foreign countries is via the Skilled Migrant Visa. The thing with many Westernized nations is that they have a distinct lack of skilled manual workers (probably because a college diploma and a white-collar job with a fancy title are considered more aspirational in their societies).

New Zealand is no exception.

So, how do you cash in on the hype? Most importantly, how would you know if you’re eligible for New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Visa? And if you are, how do you go about things?

Read on and find out.

What Does the Skilled Migrant Visa Allow Me to Do?

New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Visa
Image Credit: BigStock

This visa enables you to live, work, and study in New Zealand. It also allows you to include your partner as well as any dependent children under the age of 24 in your residence application.

What Are the Requirements?

Generally, those who are aged 55 or younger and whose skills are aligned with the ones New Zealand has a shortage of are the best candidates for this visa. The country has separate lists of in-demand skills for both the immediate future and for the long term, and you can type in your occupation into this database to find out if yours is one of them.

Do note that the New Zealand government refers to a point-based system to assess expressions of interest or EOI’s (more on this later).

New Zealand government refers to a point-based system
Image Credit: Otago Daily Times

Those whose EOI’s have 160 points or more usually end up moving forward.

The more items on this list that apply to you, the more points your EOI can garner. Having been offered skill employment in New Zealand, currently working as a skilled worker in New Zealand, possessing a recognized qualification for your skill set, having close family living in the country, and being with a partner who speaks English at the same level you’re required to can all merit you additional points.

How Do You Apply?

First, check if you meet the requirements (see above.)

Next, submit your expression of interest (EOI) online here. You will need to create an account to be able to do this, but the link for that is also provided on the previously-mentioned URL. While waiting for feedback, you can also check New Zealand Immigration’s Guide to Fees online.

If your EOI scores at least 160 points, you’ll most likely be selected to continue with the application. You’ll receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) if this is the case.

selected to continue with the application
Image Credit: Visas Avenue Blog

You should also receive a form for resident application along with your ITA. This needs to be submitted along with the complete requirements within six months. Refer to the Fees Guide mentioned earlier for the necessary accompanying payments.

The final step, if your application was successful, is to receive your visa. Once approved, you should be issued either a resident visa or a job search visa.

What are the Common Mistakes to Avoid?

To have a more accurate picture of how many points your EOI should get, steer clear of the following application errors:

1. Listing qualifications that may not be recognized.

If your qualifications haven’t been certified in New Zealand, you may want to have them assessed by the International Qualifications Assessment (IQA). They’ll give you a Recognition Statement after the assessment, and you can use it for immigration purposes.

Not doing otherwise may result in your listed qualifications being disregarded and thus not bagging you any points on your application.

2. Citing irrelevant work experience.

Points for work experience are only credited if it applies to the same field as the job being offered to you or to your declared qualification. For instance, having worked on a renovation project for a church will get you points if you’re applying as a construction worker, but not if you’re doing the same for a healthcare position. (Duh.)

As a parting note, be sure not to confuse the Skilled Migrant Visa with the Entrepreneur Resident Visa. The former is best for those who intend to work for a company or for an individual, but if you plan on being self-employed (e.g., a freelance plumber or construction worker), the latter is probably more suitable.

A Quick Guide for Filipinos Moving to New Zealand

Visiting other countries while on vacation is one thing. Moving abroad to actually live there is another thing entirely.

In the first scenario, the novelty is all part of the fun. You’ll marvel at how differently everyone sounds (even when they appear to be speaking English), rejoice in the colder climate, and perhaps even find amusement in exploring local transportation.

In the second scenario, however, the unfamiliar can quickly turn terrifying. Those quaint accents won’t be so endearing when they get in the way of your understanding directions or workplace instructions, all that powdery white winter snow will only mean that you have to spend the morning shoveling it off your car and the driveway while you freeze your butt off, and you’ll have to figure out public transportation routes quickly lest you show up late to work a little too often.

This is not to discourage you from migrating, of course. There will always be a period of adjustment when you’re trying something new, and the key to getting through it successfully is knowing what to expect.

Say, you’ve decided to move to New Zealand. What sort of things should you watch out for?

Language

Image Credit: Shutterstock

English remains to be the predominant language in New Zealand, but the Kiwi accent can take some getting used to. It’s quite different from the way Americans speak, but it’ll sound familiar if you’ve lived in Australia for some time before crossing the Tasman.

New Zealanders also tend to speak quite fast, so you may find them hard to understand if your own grasp of the English language isn’t too solid yet and/or you’re not used to the Kiwi accent.

Fortunately, the Kiwi’s are usually friendly and obliging if you politely ask them to slow down or to repeat what they’ve just said. Brushing up on your study of the English language also helps, and you can perhaps try to listen to local podcasts to get familiar with the accent.

Climate

Climate

The weather in New Zealand is generally mild, but as with Australia, its citizens experience all four seasons, but they occur in reverse order.

Winter, for example, lasts from June to August, and whether you get snow or not depends on which part of the country you live in. The landscape then changes from white to a lovely burnt orange, courtesy of autumn, which graces the country from March till May.

Spring usually arrives around September, and Mother Nature remains in full bloom until December, which typically marks the beginning of the summer season.

Thus, you may want to stock your wardrobe with coats, jackets, and thermal wear to prepare for the fluctuations in temperature.

Environment

New Zealand Farmland Square
Image Credit: Natural Habitat Adventures

The local population has a deep love and respect for nature, and New Zealand’s iconic scenery can be glimpsed everywhere, even in the country’s biggest cities.

In the midst of so much natural beauty, it’s not surprising that much of the recreational activities in this country are done outside. From hiking to skiing, adrenaline junkieswill have no shortage of new hobbies to explore.

However, do be warned that littering is frowned upon as it’s bad for the environment. Last I checked, New Zealand’s parliament was even proposing a fine of NZ$1,000 for anyone who gets caught littering. Yikes. Best keep litter in your pockets till you come across a garbage bin then.

Employment

Employment in New Zealand
Image Credit: New Zealand Now

Salaries are generally good in this country, and employment opportunities for expats are quite diverse. Part-time jobs in the healthcare industry are a popular choice for many migrants who are also trying to get a degree or are in the process of applying for a citizenship.

Fields like forestry, fishing, and construction have the highest demand for skilled labor, so if you’ve got skills and/or an education that would prove useful in any of those industries, you’re likely to find a job faster.

Transportation

Transportation in New Zealand

If you choose to settle in big cities like Auckland or Wellington, you’ll have access to a comprehensive rail system, so you may not need a car to get around.

Not so in the more remote areas, however. Some of the smaller cities have buses servicing the local populace, but driving your own car remains to be the most convenient mode of transportation. However, traffic jams are uncommon and are usually found only in big cities during rush hour.

And, of course, there’s always the bicycle. When you live in a country this clean and safe, getting to and from work and school on a bike actually sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

Culture

Culture in New Zealand

NZ culture is arguably one of the best things about this country. Corruption and discrimination aren’t the norm here, and Kiwi’s have a reputation for being open-minded and friendly.

This also extends to their business culture, which is more informal than those in other Western countries (though basic courtesy is still practiced and valued).

The Maori heritage is also a crucial part of the country’s culture, with many Maori words finding their way into everyday conversations, so you may want to familiarize yourself with what they mean and how they are pronounced.

See? Moving over to New Zealand might call for some changes in your lifestyle, but that’s nothing compared to what you’d be getting in return: a naturally beautiful, politically and economically stable new homeland that’s arguably more accepting of outsiders than any other place in the world.