Work, student and residence visa approvals steadily rising, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment figures show

Work, student and residence visa approvals steadily rising, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment figures show

The number of work, student and residence visas being approved is climbing rapidly following the end of the country's internal lockdown restrictions, even though tough quarantine measures are being enforced at the border.

According to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, 16,116 work, student and residence visas were issued in June, up from 11,109 in May and 4794 in April.

However the numbers are still well down from where they were before COVID-19 restrictions took effect, with 30,720 work, residence and student visas approved in January and 29,973 approved in February.

The biggest comeback has been in the number of residence visas being approved, with 3078 approved in June, which was up 18.9% compared to June last year.

The number of work visas being approved has also increased strongly, with 9876 approved in June, which was just over half (53%) the number approved in June last year.

Student approvals have been more sluggish, with 3162 student visas approved in June, just over a third (37%) of the student visas approved in June last year.

In the first six months of this year, a total of 223,086 work, student and residence visas have been approved (refer table below).

That brought the total number of people in New Zealand on work, residence or student visas to 473,568 at the end of June, which was down by 19,737 (-4.0%) compared to the end of March, but still up by 19,392 (+4.3%) compared to June last year.

Between the end of March and the end of June, the total number of people on work visas declined by 10,560 (-4.8%), those on student visas declined by 4056 (-5.0%) and those on residence visas declined by 5121 (-2.7%).

The graph below shows the monthly changes in the total number of people on work, student and residence visas over the last 10 years.

Its most notable feature is the ongoing increase in the number of people on work visas, while the numbers on student and residence visas have remained relatively flat over the last five years.

Visas Approved January-June 2020
  January February March April May June Total
Work 18,846 17,961 15,222 2922 5940 9876 70,767
Residence 2823 2736 2166 75 1644 3078 12522
Student 9051 9276 7716 1797 3525 3162 34527
Total 30,720 29,973 25,104 4794 11109 16116 223,086

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I dont get it .

I voted for a certain lying sod at the last election when he said he would "HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON " on immigration until we got on top of the housing backlog .

Nett Inward immigration was running at 70,000 per annum .

We have recently been issuing 30,000 work visas A MONTH !!!!!!

Now we know the truth , Labour and its cohorts really are the parties for immigration

See my comment below re work visas. 30000 visas a month doesn't mean 30000 new people a month.
The actual number of new people on visas is in the article. It's up ~20k compared to a year ago.

Edit: Funny to se how many people jump immediately on this one figure without understanding it. Kinda scary too. This is how misinformation spreads like wildfire.


Yes ppl misread stats.. but the fact remains, NZ First has done virtually nothing to challenge the status quo this term, and the main political parties all believe in a bigger NZ is a better NZ, despite most evidence is to the contrary (at least for existing NZ residents.. great for the new arrivals).


I agree that promises have not been kept on this front. But I hope you're not implying that national would be better.

Election time that HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON rant will start again

It would be interesting to know how many of these residence visas are Investor 1 or Investor 2 visas:

Also, is it possible to apply for such a visa from overseas and then relocate to NZ with the borders in their current state?


Who cares what category they are ....the fact remains , this Government of losers was quick to call National the party of immigration for allowing 70,000 migrants in PER ANNUM

Turns out this bunch of fools has been issuing 30,000 VISAS EVERY MONTH !!!!!!!!!!!!

At this rate , we could have 360.000 new residents here this year ( even with covid ) and to put that in perspective , thats 1,000 new faces arriving here , every day , 7 days a week

OR the entire population of the South Island in just 36 months


I'm interested in the category because those people with Investor 1 or 2 visas have a ton of money and could be helping drive real estate prices up, particularly at the top end.

Yes that becomes fairly apparent when property markets become detached from local economic conditions, a split forms where the top end is being fed by overseas money.

Juwai article: Chinese show interest in New Zealand properties despite ban on foreign buyers.

Well work visas expire and the person needs to reapply while in NZ. I used to get through a couple a year, sometimes more. It doesn't mean each number is a new person entering the country every time.

Correct. And work visas to residence visas, etc. Lots of double counting. Not to mention that net immigration has to take account of the departures.

Also, the thousands of tertiary students who have automatic working rights i.e. are issued a work visa upon graduation.

You don't seem to understand how visas work.
Most visas are temporary and need to be renewed usually every 12-24 months (or when switching jobs, as some are tied to a certain employer). For example, a person who's been in NZ on a work visa for 5 years might have had up to 5 work visas issued during that period. One person, multiple visas.
Also, resident visas have two stages - a resident visa will be replaced by a 'permanent' resident visa after 2 years, which also counts as a new visa issued.
I personally have had 2 work visas and two resident visas so far, yet (as far as I'm aware) I'm just one person.
In addition to these long-term visas, there's a 'working holiday visa', which counts as a work visa and only allows a person to do gigs (up to 3 month at a single workplace) like picking fruit.
Not sure about student visas or if they need to be renewed periodically, I'll let you investigate that yourself.

Most visas are temporary and need to be renewed usually every 12-24 months (or when switching job

In Vietnam, there are people in the country on tourist visas that need to be renewed every 1-3 months. They're there because of the Covid situation (cannot leave [lack of flights] or don't want to leave). The immigration data will not be telling the real story. Likely similar in NZ.

do the numbers represent extensions of existing visa?otherwise they are insane,we dont have enough houses,roads,hospitals for them.

As far as I'm aware, there are no "extensions" of a visa. The existing visa is replaced with a new one, thus counted in these stats.

so on the nz immigration website when they say they are extending temporary work visaa by six months they are obviously wrong and havent run this past you?

Yes, I took it at face value that the government was extending visas lock-stock-and-barrel for 6 months. The pity is MBIE could be much more detailed in its data releases. The extension was only announced recently and won't account for the big numbers in January and February

"they are obviously wrong and havent run this past you?" - Look buddy. I answered your question, trying to be helpful, and you reply like this? What is wrong with you?

I'm sure you're aware that this 6 months extension is a very special occurence due to covid, and this is not how it normally works. I was referring to the normal visa "extensions", not the once in a century scenario. I didn't think I'd have to clarify this...

Although they are referring to them as “extensions," what they are doing in reality is issuing new visas. That’s standard procedure with INZ from my own personal experience as an immigrant and someone who helped international students with their visas.


I would be guessing but I suspect the student and work visa for june this year are roll overs of people already in country.
it does make you wonder why we need to issue 10k of work visas when we now have 200k unemployed


To the people freaking out about 30 THOUSAND!!!!!! NEW PEOPLE PER MONTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, please read this:
"That brought the total number of people in New Zealand on work, residence or student visas to 473,568 at the end of June, which was down by 19,737 (-4.0%) compared to the end of March, but still up by 19,392 (+4.3%) compared to June last year."
That's ~20000 new people on visas in total (not including returning / leaving citizens) compared to a year ago. 20k per year is really far from 360k per year, so please calm down.

Also on residence visas, INZ isn't accepting new Skilled Migrant Category applications since late March.
An INZ manager mate of mine said they've been instructed to "prioritize" high wage workers (2x median wage), since job losses are more likely to hit low to mid wage workers on temp visas. To be fair, willingness to work in low-value sectors on low pay is not really a skill.

We could hope to see a 2003-style clean sweep of application backlog soon after the election.

Gotta import 'high' wage workers to keep middle class wage inflation from every keeping up with living costs, after all.

Isn't that easy to fiddle though? Your family buys you a ticket to work at your uncle's liquor store as a store manager on whatever is the required salary. In fact you work for your uncle for $3 an hour. Or your family borrows the money for your ticket from an "uncle" on the basis that you work for him for 2 years at $2 an hour.

I have no idea if they do or not, but it would be easy to check with IRD to verify.

That's not how the scam works. The employer pays the employee minimum wage, so it all looks legit to the authorities. But the employee then pays those wages back to the employer in cash as a "loan repayment" (the loan being the amount of money charged for sponsoring the visa). The "business" is run at a loss or breakeven, so no income tax is payable, while the owner pockets the cash payments from their employees.

Under the new INZ rules, you also need to prove that a Kiwi resident or citizen was unwilling to work behind the liquor store counter for the advertised pay.
Try making a case to INZ that your uncle couldn't attract a single decent Kiwi applicant for a job paying upwards of 106k a year to stock shelves and work the cash till at a liquor store.

Last year the Govt actually decreased the amount of PR granted. It’s the first time that has happened in 12 years!

Huh? The Coalition is nothing but PR, that's about the only thing they produce.

It appears part of the problem has just resigned.

Big hit back at the hypocrites

Hypocrites? I'm not sure what you're referring to.
ILG: "Inappropriate (consensual) relationship with a ex-staffer.", ie. had consensual sex with a coworker in his office.
Falloon: Sent unsolicited porn pics to a schoolgirl and another 'young' woman

These two are both inappropriate, but I'm sure we can agree on which one's much much worse. Also, both have been asked to resign so I'm not sure where that 'hypocrites' comes from.

Funny how PM allowed him to stay when making poor immigration decisions... you forgotten Karel Shroubec

I haven't, and I always hated ILG because of decisions like that. But your comment seemed to refer to the current scandals.

When your the minister for work relations and safety, it's a bit comical isn't it?

Disingenuous calling her a schoolgirl as shes at university and is 19 years old.

I understand that while she's 19 now, she was much younger when it commenced.

Govt needs more tax payers keep bringing them in dont worry about anything else like , housing , roads , water , sewer , stormwater she"ll be right Phil Goff will sort it out.

Why don't we bring in people with the skills to plan & build all of that and also contribute taxes to pay for all of that. Instead we have handed the keys to tertiary institutes and low-value businesses hoping they will do the right thing. The number of working people (aka taxpayers) in all our major cities and regional centres (QT, Dunedin) has gone up significantly yet councils in these places are in more debt and financial stress than ever and are struggling to provide the bare minimum we need to call ourselves a developed country.

20 points for working in an area of skill shortage, 60 for NZ Level 7+ qualification - we've got our priorities messed up.

Could be a good time to leverage our relatively benign political environment and comparative low levels of corruption.

Invite PhDs and Masters holders from reputable institutes, set up more digital infrastructure, drop company and personal income tax rates and balance it out with some land tax, and make a go of being innovative and productive.

What's the bet we concentrate on inflating house prices and importing cheap labour instead?

While we're unable to get our act together even in the midst of a socioeconomic crisis, Australia is currently boasting an infrastructure pipeline of 137 confirmed projects worth over $100m.


How does one register one's dissatisfaction with excessive immigration? All politicians and bureaucrats seem to think it is good for us, yet no one ever voted for it. How do we address the failure of representative democracy in this country?


Civil Disobedience. Non-violent, yet extremely disruptive. It takes more than a few though, and I doubt we'll see any more than that willing to participate until things get even worse. It's unlikely that people will do anything to insist on this until the discomfort is felt further and far deeper than at present.


Interesting reading Douglas Murray's 'The Strange Death of Europe' then seeing the same lines being recited to a confused, somewhat unwilling NZ population.

Meanwhile, Germany has since closed its borders and Europe is paying Turkey to reduce the inward flow.

Politicians not listening seems to lead ultimately to populism above...potentially anger and violence.

Funny how actual democracy is now called "populism". "Democracy" now seems to mean, "the election of people whose ideas I approve of". All very Orwellian. We have had the first violent massacre already, although it seems to have been more to do with unwanted immigration in Aussie than here. We really, really don't want any more. How do people register their disapproval in a civilised way? There seems no gentle outlet for their frustration.

It's great to hear something positive during this pandemic hit days. The improved number of student and work visa approvals is simply showing that the people are just getting back to their normal life. Everyone went through the internal lockdown and movement restrictions can understand how horrible it was to live like in a shell.

I'm currently residing in Dubai, UAE as I'm working here in a government Tadbeer maid visa agency and the situation is getting better now as well. The government has lifted many air travel and visa restrictions imposed during the Covid 19 pandemic. Now people from most of the countries are able to get visiting visa to Dubai as the Coronavirus cases are steadily declines in the last a few weeks or so.

The UAE reported nearly 200 cases in the last several days without any death cases, that's a great deal of recovery from thousand cases a day in the previous weeks. We can hope for the best and to have a proper effective vaccine to fight this universal dilemma.

Navaz Ibrahim
Business Executive at Tadbeer Visa (

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