The A-Z Pre-Employment Guide for employers & employees



Q. Can an employer ask me if I'm entitled to work in New Zealand?

A. Yes, because it's unlawful to employ people who aren't entitled to work here.

All applicants should be asked whether they are entitled to work in New Zealand, either in the job interview or on the application form, though they should not be asked about their country of origin. The job applicant’s answer should confirm that they are a New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident, or that they have a current work permit.

 Q. What evidence of entitlement to work in New Zealand can an employer require a job applicant to produce?

A. Employers may (but aren't required to) ask for documents like passports, birth certificates, citizen certificates, residence permits or Australian residence return visas.

Employers should ask for evidence of entitlement to work in New Zealand before offering employment. A New Zealand passport, birth certificate, citizenship certificate or residence permit shows that a job applicant is entitled to work in New Zealand. An Australian passport, Australian permanent residence visa or Australian resident return visa is also proof they are entitled to work in New Zealand.

New Zealand and Australian citizens and residents (including people from the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau) don't need a permit to work in New Zealand.

The passports of job applicants from outside of New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau or Australia will need to have either a New Zealand residence permit, or work permit label or stamp as proof of entitlement to work in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides detailed information about entitlement to work in New Zealand. Telephone 0508 55 88 55 or visit the website 


Q. Can an employer attempt to create a “level playing field” by advertising for a young person, a Mâori, a Pacific person or a female?

A. Yes, under special circumstances the Act allows employment initiatives to help people against whom discrimination is unlawful and who need assistance to achieve equality with other members of the community.

This is known as positive discrimination or affirmative action or special measures. For more information take a look at our Guidelines on Measures to Ensure Equality at You can also get a copy of the Guidelines from the Commission by telephoning 0800 496 877 or by sending an email to [email protected]

Ethnicity: See National origins