Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in New Zealand

Have you set your mind on backpacking through New Zealand but still are wondering about how to pay for the adventure? Go abroad under the Working Holiday Programme (WHP) and discover Maori culture. You could do some vineyard work and then set off for the nine Great Walks. Many countries have signed bilateral reciprocal Working Holiday Visa (WHV) agreements allowing young people to work and travel in New Zealand.

How to obtain a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand

To obtain a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand, you must:

  • be aged between 18 and 30 (35 if you are from Slovakia, Czech Republic or Chile) on the day you apply to join the WHP
  • be a citizen of a country which has signed an agreement with New Zealand,
  • hold a passport from an eligible country which is valid for at least three months after you planned to leave New Zealand,
  • hold sufficient funds for the duration of your stay and for purchasing a return ticket,
  • not be coming with children,
  • be coming for holiday purposes (work and study must be secondary intentions),
  • not already have been granted a working holiday visa for New Zealand,
  • have WHV insurance for the duration of the stay,
  • in some cases supply a medical certificate and/or evidence of proficiency in English.

Applying for a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand

New Zealand sets annual quotas for many countries participating in the Working Holiday Programme. An unlimited amount of WHVs are delivered each year for citizens of some countries such as France, Belgium, UK or USA.

Depending on the country you are from, applications may be lodged online or manually. What you need to do:

  • fill in the Working Holiday Scheme Work Visa Application (INZ 1085),
  • enclose the requested documents: two ID pictures, a valid passport, details of arrangements to leave New Zealand after your visa expires, medical certificates if requested,
  • pay the application fee,
  • if you didn’t apply online, send your application to the nearest Immigration New Zealand branch.

What can you do with the Working Holiday Visa?

The WHV for New Zealand allows you to:

  • enter New Zealand within 12 months after the date of issue,
  • stay in New Zealand for up to 12 months (6 months if you are from Malaysia, Singapore or Austria, 23 months if you are a UK citizen),
  • study for up to 3 or 6 months, depending on the country you are from,
  • work, as long as you do not take up permanent employment. In some cases, maximum work period is restricted to 3 or 6 months. Also, citizens of certain participating countries cannot work for the same employer for over 3 months.

Processing time usually is quite short: you will know in a matter of days if your WHV has been approved.

To find out more about the WHP in New Zealand:

Check and see if your country takes part in the WHP with New-Zealand: visit the New Zealand Immigration website.
Join the WHP community in New Zealand on Facebook.
Join the WHP community in New Zealand on Twitter.

Date of publication Dec 6 2012

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