Moving with a Pacific Access Category (PAC) Visa

If you are about to register, or have just registered, for the Pacific Access Category (PAC) ballot, this page has important information for you.

The Pacific Access Category (PAC) ballot is a very special opportunity. Each year, thousands of people from across the Pacific register for the PAC draw. If your name is drawn you are one of the lucky ones. 

But to do well in New Zealand it will take more than luck.

Plan and prepare for a better future 

New Zealand may not be what you expect

New Zealand is a big place. The weather is different, work is harder and what you see will be new.

Before you move - stop, think, plan and prepare

If you plan well you will make a better start for you and your family in New Zealand. Use your time wisely - the work you do to prepare will help you in the future.

Migrant stories
Ritia Tioti teaser 1

"In New Zealand there is more clock watching and working to a timetable. I have to work quicker. "

Read Ritia's story

Get help to find a job in New Zealand

Getting a job is important - a job will help you make a better start to life in New Zealand. But finding  a job can be hard.

  • Ask your family and friends to check if their employer has a job for you.
  • Get your job profile, CV or resume ready. You will need it to find a good job.

Living in New Zealand costs a lot more than in the Pacific Islands

You need to know how much things will cost in New Zealand.

Life will not be easy at first. When you arrive in New Zealand you have to pay for many things, including a place to live. Basic things - like power, telephone, food and clothes - will cost much more than you are used to.

Make sure you know what you will need to start your life in New Zealand so you and your family can get what you need when you arrive.

In New Zealand your attitude to work is important

Migrant stories
A man leaning against a stone wall

Lemeki describes how he built up a successful business in New Zealand

Read Lemeki's story

Be prepared to work hard in New Zealand. It is important to be responsible and committed to your job – it will help you settle well in New Zealand. Do not waste this opportunity.

Get support and advice

InfoNOW is a free service providing information to migrants settling in New Zealand. You can get help in 11 different languages, including English, Hindi and Samoan. If you need help, talk to someone at InfoNOW.

Know before you go

What is New Zealand really like?

Friends and family in New Zealand will tell you good stories – but there will be good and bad times.  There are important things about living in New Zealand that you need to know. Ask them:

  • How was moving to New Zealand different from what you expected?
  • How cold does it get where you live?
  • How much do you spend on food, rent, heating, clothes and transport?
  • Do you manage to save enough money for what you need?
  • Do you have to borrow money?
Hot tip

Learn how New Zealand interviews work

Ask for advice and tips from friends and family who have been through the job interview process here.

What is working in New Zealand like?

Find out from friends and family about their experience working in New Zealand. Ask them:

  • What is different about working in New Zealand?
  • How long does it take you to get to work?
  • How much does it cost you to get to work?
  • How many hours a day do you work?


Find a job

Use your time wisely

Do not waste time while waiting for your name to be drawn. Think about what you can do now to learn skills that will impress a New Zealand employer. For example:

  • improve your English
  • get a driver licence
  • get relevant work experience for the jobs you might apply for.

Plan and prepare to get a job that will help you find a better future.

  • Get some tips and advice on searching for jobs in New Zealand from
  • Look at jobs and sign up for job alerts on websites like and
  • Ask friends and family if there are any jobs coming up at their workplace
  • Use the CV Builder Tool on  to help you build a CV or resume
  • Practise your English, practise interviews, and practise explaining your visa requirements. 

When you get a job offer, check if it is right for you. Ask yourself:

  • Does it match my skills?
  • Does it have acceptable working hours?
  • Is the workplace close to where I will live?
  • Is there opportunity for training and promotion?

More information

Tips for job hunting        

Job and recruitment websites

CV writing tips 

Skills shortage list checker | INZ

Skills employers want |

Prepare your documents and visa application

Read your visa application carefully

There are a lot of things for you to get ready so start preparing early. 

Get the timing right. If things are not ready at the right time your application will not be accepted, or you may have to pay more fees. 

You will have to make copies of some important documents that need to be certified.


Certified copy

A certified copy is a photocopy of a document that has been stamped or signed by a person of authority as a true copy of the original. The person who certifies your documents must be authorised by law to take a statutory declaration in your home country or in New Zealand. People who can certify documents include lawyers, Notary Publics, Justices of the Peace, and court officials. 

Documents you will need for your visa application

  • Your actual employment offer - or a certified copy.
  • A completed, signed application form (INZ1000) – 1 for you and 1 for your partner, if you have one. (See the Residence guide - INZ1002)
  • If you are applying with your partner, evidence that the relationship is more than 1 year old. (See the Residence guide - INZ1002)
  • Evidence that you meet English language requirements.

For each person on your visa application you will also need:

  • original passports (no copies allowed). Make sure they are current passports
  • 2 passport photos each
  • the reference number of each medical and chest x-ray certificate. These must be less than 3 months old. (NOTE: Chest x-rays are required for everyone aged 11 or over).
  • a police certificate (these must be less than 6 months old). (NOTE: These are required for everyone aged 17 or over).
  • a birth certificate (original or certified)
  • the application fee. Fees vary so check the Immigration New Zealand website.



Medical and Police certificates

Do not apply for your Medical and Police certificates until you have a job offer. If they expire, you will have to pay another fee.


Get your application in on time

Lodge your visa application so that it is with Immigration New Zealand by 15 March 2020 (no extensions).

Most application decisions take 3 months, but it can take up to 9 months.

More information

Prevent delays with your application



Get ready for your new life in New Zealand

Be well prepared

Life in New Zealand may be very different from life in the islands. Being well prepared will help you and your family feel at home sooner. Here are some things you can do to prepare.

  • Consider living in a smaller town instead of a big city. Smaller towns are usually cheaper to live in and have fewer people so it can be easier to make friends.
  • Make sure you keep working, save up and take enough money to cover the first few months in New Zealand. You will have unexpected costs when you arrive and are settling in.
  • Find out about your rights and responsibilities as an employee in New Zealand.
  • Get some good advice. Ask friends and family in New Zealand:
  1. What problems did you have when you first arrived?
  2. Did you have enough money when you first arrived?
  3. How much money do you think I will need to bring with me?
  4. What advice would you give someone who has recently arrived in New Zealand?
Migrant stories
Nurse sitting at a computer desk

“I did my research on Oamaru, checking out schools, house rentals – a lot cheaper than Auckland – and I liked that it wasn’t crowded.”

Read Mafa's story

Coming to New Zealand

Remember to take all your important documents with you to New Zealand. This includes your drivers licence, passports with New Zealand visas, and birth certificates for everyone coming with you.

Think about the money you will need when you arrive. Have you saved money for:

  • your flights to New Zealand
  • transport to your accommodation on arrival
  • paying for your accommodation (check rental costs for the town or suburb where you will be living)
  • food and transport for at least 2 weeks, or until your first payday
  • warm clothes if it will be cold?

Before you leave home make sure:

  • your visa has been approved
  • you have arranged somewhere to stay or live when you arrive
  • you know your work start date and your employer's contact details.

When you pack, check that you have these documents with you:

  • passports with New Zealand visas
  • birth certificate
  • school qualifications and school reports
  • medical documentation (eg immunisation records for children to go to school)
  • driver licence (if you drive)
  • marriage certificate (if you are married)
  • your New Zealand employment agreement
  • references from previous employers.

Key timings to remember

You get about 8 months from when your name is drawn to find a full-time (30+ hours a week) job in New Zealand. During this time you must get your medical and police checks done, and submit your visa application.

Almost all applicants need medical and police certificates (Medical - everyone aged over 10 years; Police - everyone aged over 16 years). Keep the costs and timings for these in mind. When you submit your visa application your:

  • medical certificates must be less than 3 months old
  • police certificates must be less than 6 months old.

Email or talk to someone to get information about settling in New Zealand.


What you need to settle well

Even after you arrive in New Zealand your journey has just begun. Remember - visiting a country is very different to living in it. There will be many more things to learn. You will not be able to just go back home when times get tough.

For more information and tips on how to settle well and stay in New Zealand, visit our Moving from the Pacific Islands page. 

Moving from the Pacific Islands

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

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Page last updated: 18/04/2019

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