South Island Contribution Visa

This visa is set to come out from May 22nd, and is intended as a pathway to residence for lower skilled workers who have been working in the South Island of New Zealand for at least 5 years. This visa will be open for 12 months. The details of the visa are yet to be released but we know that it will be along the same conditions as the current Work to residence visa with an approximately 4 year commitment to staying in the South island. The people who suit this visa most will be applicants who wouldn't qualify for other resident visa types but who still make a contribution to NZ.

Special, one-time opportunity

This won't be a visa type which you can build up to, you will need to meet the criteria within this 12 month period, meaning before the end of May 2018. However, if you need to wait that long it may well be too late. There is expected to be a lot of applicants for this visa. As no details have been released yet it is hard to say, but it seems likely that unless you get your application in quickly and can join the queue early, then some people will probably miss out.

This is what we mean by there being no second chances. If you make a mess of your first application, by the time it gets declined and you prepare your second attempt, you might be too late.

As this visa is especially kind to lower skilled workers, which is the opposite to the usual theme of NZ immigration instructions, we assume that this type of visa will not be repeated very often if at all. There will not likely be a second intake some time later, the chance to get residence if you are lower skilled is now.


The basic facts that we know so far are:

  • This is a one-time opportunity
  • You will need 5 years history of working in the south island at the time of application
  • There will probably be no English requirement
  • You will need a  good standard of heath and character
  • The visa includes provision for partners and dependent children
  • The visa is open for one year - May 22 2017 ~ May 21 2018 and probably won't be repeated
  • The visa will be like a work to residence visa