Compare the pair – same location in the southern hemisphere, same British colonial roots and same military heritage. However, one is a continent and the other is a land mass, one is home to the Kangaroo and red dirt whilst the other is home to sheep and rolling green hills as far as the eye can see.

Australia and New Zealand often find themselves tangled in the misconception that they are one and the same and whilst we share several commonalities, a comparative lens will also show our many differences.

Given the fact that both countries are hot list destinations for migration, we are particularly intrigued about the characteristics which define and distinguish our immigration system from that of the New Zealand migration system – as more often than not the decision to choose which country to migrate to is dependent on the immigration system itself.

Touring the Available Visas

Below we have mapped out a list of the visa types available and most popular for the purposes of both temporary and permanent residence.*

Items table

* Please note this is a basic comparison of immigration programs between New Zealand vs Australia work visa programs. To assess your individual case, have a chat to one of our consultants.

What is clear from the abovementioned table is that the similarities between Australia and New Zealand are not simply limited to their heritage but also reflected through some of their administrative processes which include the structure of the visa streams and pathways.  Most Australian visa streams have a New Zealand counterpart.  Whilst there are similarities, we do note a distinct difference in processing behaviour and access to information.

Familiar Territory

In order for us to make a true and genuine comparison between the two systems, it is necessary that we explore the nuances of a single visa category against its Australian and New Zealand counterparts.

Given the turbulent and evolving nature of Temporary Work Visas in Australia, it would be interesting to see whether the sea of changes that have occurred make it more or less distinct from its New Zealand equivalent.

Temporary Work Visas

Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)

  • Must have an employer who is a standard business sponsor providing you a job offer
  • The job offer must be for a full-time position
  • Job must be on the Skilled Occupation List
  • Must be paid at least minimum wage or at least $53,900 AUD or market salary
  • The Applicant must have the work experience and education required to fill the role
  • The company must not be able to find an Australian to fill the role (Labour Market Testing)
  • After three years, the applicant may be able to apply for a permanent visa by way of Employer Nomination Scheme
  • Visa duration is up to 2 years (STSOL) or 4 years (MLTSSL)
  • Applicants can include family members (de facto/spouse partner and children) with their visa application
  • Visa Application Charge (Main Applicant): AUD1,265 (STSOL) or AUD2,645 (MLTSSL)

Essential Skills Work Visa

  • No New Zealand citizens or residents are available to do the job
  • No minimum wage requirement however the salary offered must meet that of the market rate or industry standard
  • The position must be full time
  • The profession must be on the Essential Skills In Demand Lists; or
  • The company must have attempted to find a New Zealand employee to fill the role
  • The Applicant must have the work experience and education required to fill the role
  • Visa duration is generally 1-5 years in length depending on the occupation
  • Visa Application Charge: NZD495*

Through an analysis of Australia’s Subclass 482 Temporary Work Visa and New Zealand’s equivalent Essential Skills Work Visa what is clear that a point at which Australia and New Zealand differ is in both their approach and response to migration.  New Zealand houses a migration system that works on actively enabling and enlisting in foreign workers to meet the skill shortages.  This is evident in the more liberal age requirement of 55 and the qualification validation requirements. This is in stark contrast to Australia, who through rebuilding, renovations and restorations of its skilled work visa programs has established some hefty red tape.  It is now harder to secure temporary visas for skilled workers and employers need to look for local workers first.

The trends and nuances of the Australian and New Zealand migration systems reflect the overall fundamental demand of each respective country. New Zealand clearly harbours a nation-wide demand for foreign workers and is welcoming of this help. In stark contrast, Australia’s demand for foreign workers has most recently been displaced from the now overpopulated metro and suburban areas to the regional locations where the drought continues.

All in All, whichever country you are thinking of for your migration goal we know both and will be able to help you, contact one of our consultants today on +61 2 8234 8400 or