Please note: New Zealand Now content reflects pre-COVID-19 conditions and outlook. For COVID-19 related updates to visa and border requirements, click here.

Tourism & hospitality jobs

Put your skills to the test in New Zealand and enjoy a lifestyle you simply won’t find anywhere else.


Visas during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Due to COVID-19, applications from outside New Zealand for some temporary visas and EOIs (Expressions or Interest) are temporarily suspended.

Check the relevant Immigration New Zealand web page for details of the visas you’re interested in and their current application status.

Even if you can’t currently apply, you can still be making contacts and researching options.

New Zealand’s borders are currently closed to most people, as part of our measures to control COVID-19. As a result, you need an approved reason to enter New Zealand. You are unlikely to get a visa to work in our tourism and hospitality industry right now.

However, before these restrictions, were in place New Zealand became an increasingly popular destination for travellers. We are hopeful that once the border restrictions end that opportunities to work in tourism and hospitality will grow.


Meeting our wage requirements

Once it becomes time to start thinking seriously about coming to New Zealand, you will need to consider how much you are likely to earn here and whether it will be enough to meet our requirements.

Ideally you will earn the New Zealand median wage of NZD$25.50/hour, the equivalent of around NZD$53,000 a year.

Your pay rate affects what sort of visa you will be able to apply for, and how long you will be allowed to stay. The Immigration New Zealand website has the latest details.

Pay rates and work visas | Immigration New Zealand

Exciting prospects ahead

Once tourism restarts in New Zealand, it will be a great place to add to your career. You can enjoy a lifestyle you simply won’t find anywhere else while using and growing your skills in an industry that works to international standards. Tourism and hospitality will always be important to New Zealand. At its peak we attracted nearly 4 million overseas visitors in a year, providing nearly a fifth of our export earnings and one in every 12 jobs. Nothing about our incredible scenery has changed. So we expect that, in time, international tourism will once again be a thriving and important industry for us.

Meeting global standards

Along with our incredible scenery, our tourism and hospitality success is built on the qualities and skills of the people who work in the industry.

They have to meet the needs of a diverse and often very travel-wise global market. Our overseas visitors come from China, Japan, South Korea, India and Germany as well as from Australia, USA, UK and Canada and many other countries. People in each of these groups have different needs and expectations. 

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Take the first step to a new life by registering your interest with Immigration New Zealand. We’ll send you personalised emails about job opportunities in your profession, life in New Zealand and choosing the right visa.

It’s free and there’s no obligation.

Tourism and hospitality skills needed

Workers from overseas have always been vital to New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality industry. In one survey, over half of tourism businesses were ‘very’ or ‘quite’ reliant on migrant labour, rising to 75% in some areas.

Even though the border is currently restricted. The industry is looking to the future when international tourism resumes and demand for overseas workers is restored.

Immigration New Zealand has lists of skill shortages.

If you are offered a job which appears on one of these lists and you have the qualifications and experience to match, getting a work visa will be easier. This is because the government has identified that employers need to recruit people from overseas to help meet demand for your skills.

But if your job is not on a shortage list, don’t be disheartened. There are other work and resident visa options. Tourism and hospitality jobs on the lists include:

  • chef
  • skydive instructor
  • snow sport instructors. 

Skill shortage skill checker | Immigration New Zealand

Tourism and hospitality new zealand

Where and when

We expect most jobs in tourism and hospitality will continue to be found in the top tourist destinations. In order they are Auckland, Queenstown, Canterbury/Christchurch, Rotorua/Bay of Plenty and Wellington. However tourism and hospitality jobs are found right around the country.

Demand for tourism workers is highest in summer, which in our southern hemisphere is around December to February.

Some seasonal tourism skills are only needed at certain times of the year. For example, workers in snow sports, such as ski instructors, are needed only in our June to August winter.

Job sites to explore

  • New Kiwis - a recruitment services linking NZ employers with skilled migrants, offshore and onshore
  • Seek- NZ's largest general job website
  • Trade Me - NZ’s most popular website with a large job section
  • More job websites

Visa options

There are various types of visas that you may be eligible to apply for. Work visas are for a temporary stay in New Zealand, but some can lead to residence. Resident visas, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, allow you to stay indefinitely and enjoy more of our state-funded public services.

Visas to work

Apply for a visa | Immigration New Zealand

Hospitality worker's guide

For background to New Zealand tourism and hospitality, our Working in Hospitality guide is definitely worth a read.

It covers how our industry is different to what you might be used to, health and safety requirements, Kiwi slang and much more.

Working in Hospitality guide

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

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