I am frequently asked by clients “will the course I am intending to take at a New Zealand university or a polytechnic will entitle my partner to an Partnership Based Work Visa?”
The Partnership Based Work visa is one of the most powerful visas for migrants to New Zealand as it entitles the holder to work for any employer at any time. Unlike the Essential Skills Work Visa, an employer does not need to advertise the job to see if a New Zealand resident or citizen is available to fill the position. The Partnership Based Work visa is an open visa, which means that the holder is in the same position as any Kiwi who applies for the job.
Another feature of the Partnership Based Work visa is that, like all other classes of work visa, it entitles any school-age children of the holder to attend a New Zealand primary or secondary school as a domestic student – i.e. no school fees.
So how do you determine whether or not the course you are going to take will entitle your partner to a Partnership Based Work Visa?
There are 2 stages when your partner might be entitled to a Partnership Based Work Visa – while you are studying and after you graduate.
While you are studying
Whether your partner is entitled to a Partnership Based Work visa while you are studying is determined by the level of course that you are proposing to take. Courses of study in New Zealand are classified according to their level by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. For example a Bachelors level degree or Postgraduate Diploma is Level 7 or 8, a Masters Degree is Level 9 and a PhD is Level 10.
If you are studying at Level 8 or higher, your partner is entitled to a Partnership Based Work Visa. If you are studying at Level 7 and the course for which you are studying will qualify you to work in an occupation listed on the Skills Shortage List, your partner will also be entitled to a Partnership Based Work Visa.
Determining whether the course of study will entitle you work in an occupation listed on the Skills Shortage List can be quite tricky – particularly if there is also a requirement for professional registration. If in doubt, seek advice on this from an immigration adviser.
The following flowchart shows how your partner can qualify for a Partnership Based Work Visa:
After you Graduate
Once you complete a course of study in New Zealand you may be entitled to apply for a Study to Work Visa. If you are, your partner can also apply (or reapply) for a Partnership Based Work Visa.
What determines your entitlement to a Study to Work Visa is the time that your course or courses took to complete. If you studied at Level 7 or higher for 30 weeks or more (i.e. 2 academic semesters), then your partner will qualify for a Partnership Based Work Visa.
If you studied at at Level 4 or higher for 60 weeks (i.e. 4 academic semesters), then your partner can also qualify for a Partnership Based Work Visa. Note that you are allowed to have taken 2 courses over this time provided they were each of at least 30 weeks duration and the second course was at a higher level than the first.
In each of these cases, your partner’s entitlement to a Partnership Based Work Visa is linked to your entitlement to a Study to Work Visa. The following flowchart shows the criteria that entitle you to a Study to Work Visa and, therefore, your partner to a Partnership Based Work Visa:
The Partnership Based Work Visa is a powerful visa, particularly for a family migrating to New Zealand, because it enables one of the partners to work while the other studies and it enables any school age children to attend a New Zealand Government primary or secondary school for free.
Visa Feliz Ltd and our Education New Zealand Agent partner, Vida Feliz Ltd, are one of the few one-stop shops for immigration and education advice. We specialise in helping families migrate to New Zealand which, more often than not, will mean that one partner needs a Partnership Based Work Visa. We provide our clients with a customised education and migration solution that addresses their unique requirements and ensures successful settlement in New Zealand.