Immigration Officer Āpiha Whakahaere Manene

Immigration officers control the entry of people from other countries into New Zealand, assessing visa applications from people who wish to visit, study, work or reside in NZ.

Immigration officers may do some or all of the following:

  • interpret and provide information about immigration laws, policies and procedures for migrants and other stakeholders
  • answer written and phone enquiries from migrants and other stakeholders
  • read, check and decide on applications for residency or entry into New Zealand
  • interview applicants
  • provide correspondence between applicants, immigration advisors and lawyers
  • explain decisions to applicants
  • issue visas
  • assess potential immigration risks
  • manage caseloads
  • investigate breaches of immigration laws.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for immigration officers includes:

  • work as a support officer with Immigration New Zealand
  • work in a role that involves interpreting legislation, such as a contact centre role with a government organisation like Inland Revenue
  • work in local or national government organisations, or state-owned enterprises
  • customer service experience.

Personal Qualities

Immigration officers need to be:

  • good at communicating, particularly in writing
  • friendly, patient, honest and fair
  • responsible and resilient under pressure
  • able to use sound judgement 
  • able to work well under pressure and in a team
  • able to keep information private
  • accurate, with an eye for detail.


Immigration officers need to have:

  • knowledge of immigration laws, policies and official procedure
  • good interviewing and communication skills
  • excellent writing skills
  • excellent computer skills
  • analytical and research skills
  • a strong moral compass and be known to 'act with integrity'.

The ability to speak another language is also useful.


Immigration officers:

  • usually work flexible hours between 6am-6pm, Monday to Friday
  • usually work in Immigration New Zealand offices throughout the country, including: Manukau, Henderson, Palmerston North, Porirua and Christchurch
  • work in conditions that may be stressful when dealing with difficult or complicated cases.

Immigration Officers can earn around $57K per year.

Pay for immigration officers varies depending on experience and the type of work they do. However, the starting salary is the same for all new recruits. This is due to the level of training required to become a fully qualified Immigration Officer.  

  • Immigration officer recruits usually start on $59,000 a year.
  • Senior immigration officers usually earn between $59,000 and $90,000 a year.
  • Immigration officers in managerial roles usually start on $87,000.

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2022.

Immigration officers may progress to work in senior positions, or as managers.

They may also move on to work as business analysts in Immigration New Zealand, other parts of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, or in other government departments.

Immigration officers may specialise as immigration specialists (technical advisers), who supervise and mentor immigration officers. They are appointed based on their experience in making visa and permit decisions.

Years Of Training

<1 year of training required.

To be considered you must either be a NZ/Australian citizen or hold a Permanent Resident Visa.

There are no specific requirements to become an immigration officer. However, a tertiary qualification that shows analytical ability and excellent written communication, such as a Bachelor of Arts, may be useful.

Immigration New Zealand provides full training to become an immigration officer. Training is completed within the first month for all new recruits. Full supervision is provided after training as well as being designated a buddy to assist new recruits on the floor. 


Immigration Officer