Can we return to New Zealand if Ireland doesn’t work out?

Ask the Experts: What are our visa options if we want to move back?

 

Question:

I am currently in New Zealand on a work visa that expires in Jan 2018. I am on my partner’s visa. He works in construction and his profession is on the skills shortage list.

We plan to move home for good at the end of the year, but would like to know if there is any way we could return to New Zealand if we don’t settle back in Ireland?

We don’t want to apply for residency at this stage as we would be required to stay in New Zealand for six months at a time for the next two years.

Answer:

Edwina Shanahan, Managing Director, visafirst.com

I’m going to make a couple of assumptions that seem likely to me for someone in your situation – firstly, that your partner got a visa through the “Essential Skills” category and secondly, that you got an open work visa based on his.

Based on these, you would have two primary options now:

– You could see if your boyfriend’s employer would give him permission to take an extended leave, in which case there would be no issue if you wanted to go to Ireland for a while and return to New Zealand before the visas expire. However, it is important to take timelines into account. You mentioned that you are planning to go back at the end of the year, and your visas will expire very soon after that, so you would not have too long to make a decision as to whether or not you want to return to New Zealand

– If your partner doesn’t take extended leave then his employer may notify the authorities that he has ceased employment, and so his visa will be cancelled. In that case, he would need a new visa in order to return to New Zealand and so to would you as his partner

If you are thinking longer term, that you might want to go back to New Zealand in two, or three, or four years’ time, then it is difficult to say what your options will be at that time. It will depend on whether either of your occupations are on the skills shortage list. If they are, then you and or your boyfriend, may well have the option to apply for a work permit like the one your boyfriend has now.

Any options for residency will depend on immigration requirements at the time of application.

Not specific to your situation, there are three main options for Irish who wish to work in New Zealand:

1. One-year working holiday visa: To be eligible, an applicant needs to be less than 31 years old, and children cannot travel on this visa. Visa holders can work for 12 months with one employer, as opposed to Australia where there is a six-month limit.

2. Work permit visa: You need a job offer to apply for a work permit. The employer needs to secure labour market opinion to demonstrate that there is no one locally to fill the job. It is available to pretty much all occupations and can be organised in about two weeks. However, with this particular visa a spouse has to apply for their visa separately, as do any dependent children. Trades without papers can apply, and the visa is granted based on the fact that the applicant’s experience is suitable to the requirements of the job.

3. Skilled migrant visa: This is the permanent resident visa, which takes about a year to come through. To be successful, an applicant’s skills will have to be assessed. This is a points-based visa – there is a minimum points requirement needed to enter a skills pool. From this pool the applicant will be selected for a permanent visa by New Zealand immigration. If you don’t have a job offer it is very difficult to apply for PR.

Have a query for our panel of experts about emigrating, life abroad or moving home? Email them to abroad@irishtimes.com. This column is a reader service and is not intended to replace professional advice.

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