How to get a New Zealand working holiday visa for Malaysians (2024)

Hannes Ausmees

With its unique scenery and culture and laid-back vibe, New Zealand is a dream travel destination for the adventurous at heart. But with so much to see, a short vacation might not cut it. If you’d love the opportunity to spend longer in New Zealand you may be considering applying for a New Zealand working holiday visa from Malaysia.

This guide walks through how to work in New Zealand as a Malaysian citizen, and the New Zealand work visa requirements, including what you’ll need to qualify for a working holiday visa. To help you get set up for your travels - and to cut the costs of currency conversion - we’ll also touch on Wise, as a great way to manage your money beyond borders.

✅ Get your personal New Zealand account details to receive and convert NZD with no hidden fees

How to work in New Zealand for Malaysian citizens

New Zealand is a fantastic country to live - but if you’re planning an extended trip the chances are you’ll need a job to help pay your way while you’re there.

As a Malaysian citizen you’ll need the correct visa in place to allow you to work in New Zealand. This guide covers all you need to know about the New Zealand working holiday visa for Malaysians, but it’s also useful to note that there are plenty of other visa types if you don’t qualify for this option¹.

If your skills are in demand in New Zealand you might want to try to secure a job in advance of relocating - this opens up the option of visas for both seasonal and permanent work. The criteria for each visa type varies, but there’s lots of helpful information on the New Zealand government’s immigration website², including details of visa types, how to plan your move, and the resources you can use to help you along the way.

Who can apply for a work visa for New Zealand?

To give a flavour for the eligibility checks required for New Zealand working visas let’s look at who can apply for a New Zealand working visa under the skilled migrant category³ as an example. With this visa you can stay indefinitely in the country, but you’ll need to have a job lined up in advance, and be under the age of 55 when you apply. If your application is accepted you can take your family along, including dependent children to the age of 24.

To apply for this visa category you’ll need to go through a points based process, where points are earned for things like your skills, qualifications and experience, as well as practical notes like already having a job arranged before you apply. If you score enough points on the assessment, you may be offered a visa, with some ongoing requirements - such as sticking with the job you’ve been offered for a fixed amount of time upon arrival in the country, and maintaining a relatively high income level.

If you’re interested in exploring other visa types aside from the New Zealand working holiday visas, there’s lots of information and resources online, to make the process as straightforward as possible².

New Zealand working holiday visa for Malaysians

Let’s move onto the New Zealand working holiday visa for Malaysians⁴. This is a popular visa option, which lets you travel to New Zealand without having a job lined up in advance. The number of working holiday visas issued per year is subject to a cap - which means you’ll need to check availability before you submit your application online.

New Zealand working holiday visas are issued for a stay of up to 6 months in the country - perfect if you’re planning on exploring while you’re there and need a longer trip to see it all. Once your visa is issued you’ll have up to 12 months to get to New Zealand - and assuming you’re applying from Malaysia, your visa will be effective from the date you arrive in the country, rather than the date it’s issued. You can leave and re-enter New Zealand as often as you like during the visa’s validity period.


Who is eligible for a New Zealand working holiday visa?

To apply for a New Zealand working holiday visa you must:

  • Be aged 18 - 30
  • Be in good health and of good character
  • Be able to pay for yourself while you’re in New Zealand
  • Have a ticket to leave the country at the end of your stay - or the means to buy one later

When you arrive in New Zealand you’ll need to apply for entry permission, and it’s worth noting that the border guards can refuse entry in a few situations - such as if your circumstances have changed significantly since you were issued your visa, or if you can’t prove you have enough money for your stay.

What can you do with a New Zealand working holiday visa?

Your New Zealand working holiday visa will allow you to stay for up to 6 months, during which time you can either work, train or study.

If you’re planning on working you don’t need to have a job arranged in advance of travel, but there are a few common sense rules about what you can do when you get to New Zealand:

  • You can’t take a permanent job
  • You can’t work doing anything illegal
  • You can’t work in or be involved in a company which sells sexual services

No matter what work you do, you'll need to register for and pay New Zealand taxes. This will mean you need a New Zealand bank account and tax registration number, known as an IRD. You can apply online for your IRD number⁵ - and we’ll look at smart options for getting New Zealand bank details all arranged a little later, too.

How to apply for a New Zealand working holiday visa for Malaysian

There’s a helpful tool on the New Zealand immigration authorities website which lets you double check your eligibility for a New Zealand working holiday visa. You’ll also be able to check out all the documents you need to gather to support your application, which must be made online⁴.

In general, to apply for a New Zealand working holiday visa as a Malaysian you’ll need:

  • A valid passport, with at least 9 months left to run at the point you enter New Zealand
  • You’ll be asked questions as part of your application to prove your good character, and may need to provide a police report
  • You must prove you have enough to pay for your stay - assessed at 2,250 NZD
  • You must prove you have a ticket for onward travel, or the funds to buy one
  • You may need to provide a health certificate or chest x-ray

It’s also worth noting you can’t apply for this visa if you’ve had one previously. This counts even if you were previously issued a New Zealand working holiday visa but did not use it.

Once you’ve got everything you need, the process to apply is relatively simple⁴:

  1. Create an account with the New Zealand Immigration Authorities
  2. Apply online in English
  3. Pay your visa fee
  4. Look out for an email detailing any supporting documents that are required
  5. You’ll receive a decision in writing

New Zealand working holiday visa processing times

At the time of writing, the processing time for a New Zealand working holiday visa is 54 days. You’ll be able to see the average wait time when you make your application online, so you know what to expect.

New Zealand working holiday visa cost

Applying for a New Zealand working holiday visa comes with a few fees to consider. There are also the costs involved with travel and supporting yourself in a new country.

Here’s what you need to know:

Cost typePrice/range⁴
New Zealand working holiday visa application fee455 NZD
Proof of adequate funds2,250 NZD - you can show bank statements to prove you hold this amount when you apply and enter the country
Proof of onward travelCosts vary but you’ll need to assure the authorities that you can afford to leave when your visa expires

In addition to these costs, you’ll also want to build your budget to include:

  • Any fees to translate documents not issued in English to support your application
  • Any additional paperwork or checks you have to provide - such as medical certificates or police checks
  • Cost of flight and accommodation once you arrive in New Zealand
  • Any shipping or excess baggage fees when you travel
  • Costs of currency conversion and international transaction fees - more on that next

Going to New Zealand? Manage your money between New Zealand and Malaysia with the Wise multi-currency account

To make day to day life easier in New Zealand you’ll need a smart way to hold and spend NZD. You could open a bank account with a traditional bank once you arrive in New Zealand - but a quicker and more flexible option may be to open a Wise Account online before you travel.

Wise accounts are opened fully online and will give you personal NZD bank details to manage your money in New Zealand⁷ - you can also hold 40+ currencies in a single account and get 9 other sets of local bank details covering major currencies like MYR, USD, EUR and AUD.


Use your local bank details to get paid like a local from over 30 countries - and if you need to move money back to Malaysia, it’s easy to transfer money from NZD to MYR with Wise. You’ll get low, transparent fees⁶ - and the mid-market exchange rate which usually beats the banks.

For daily spending when in New Zealand, you can apply for a Wise card which allows you to easily spend your NZD in person and online - and withdraw cash from ATMs whenever you need it. Easy.

If you’re eligible for a New Zealand working holiday visa it can be a perfect way to visit a dream destination, with the option to get some paid employment to mean you can do more while you’re there. Use this guide to start your planning - and remember to set up your Wise Account before you head to New Zealand, to hit the ground running when you get there.

Get a free Wise account!


  1. New Zealand visa options
  2. New Zealand government - immigration department
  3. New Zealand visa - skilled migrant category
  4. New Zealand - working holiday visa for Malaysians
  5. New Zealand Inland Revenue
  6. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.
  7. Eligibility is subject to verification of customers identity.

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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