New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

Posted by OrbitProtect Team 日期 22 April 2022

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Getting a Working Holiday Visa

After nearly two years since the New Zealand Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) for offshore applicants was suspended, we are pleased to see this lifted, prompting people to travel again amidst our new ‘normal.’ Spaces for the Working Holiday Scheme have recently become available, and visas are expected to be issued progressively until September 2022.

Why is the New Zealand Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) so popular?

This scheme may sound new to you. Work and be on holiday at the same time? Sweet, right?! Imagine yourself backpacking for your gap year before or after tertiary/university study. Or perhaps, you want to explore the possibility of settling in a country you've never been to. Thanks to the Working Holiday agreements between countries, travellers have the opportunity to do this and more! 

You get to experience different cultures first-hand without the hassle of securing a job offer or a student exchange programme. The majority of WHS visa holders, when they arrive in New Zealand, find casual work in the tourism, hospitality and primary industries (e.g. vineyards, farms). The likes of Seek and TradeMe Jobs remain popular job search sites. Want a break from working? You are welcome to undertake study for up to six months while on a WHS visa. How good is that?

Now, the question is, where do you start? What do you need? When can you go?

Who can apply for a working holiday visa in NZ?

If you are an individual aged 18-30 (or 35) years old, you can apply for the WHS visa and will be able to work in NZ for a maximum of 12 months. Depending on your nationality, there may be a cap on the number of WHS visas that Immigration NZ will issue. So, what are you waiting for? Mark your calendar now! If you are from:

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden,  USA, Estonia, Hong Kong or Slovenia – you can apply now!
Canada, UK - you can also apply now (for a maximum stay of 23 months instead of 12)
Hungary – from 20 April 2022
Spain – from 21 April 2022
Slovakia – from 3 May 2022
Austria – from 4 May 2022 (for a maximum stay of 6 months instead of 12) 
Poland – from 11 May 2022
Korea – from 17 May 2022
Latvia – from 24 May 2022
Czech Republic – from 31 May 2022
Israel – from 7 June 2022
Taiwan – from 23 June 2022
China – from 30 June 2022
Malta – from 6 July 2022
Thailand – from 14 July 2022
Turkey – from 21 July 2022
Vietnam – from 4 August 2022
Croatia – from 10 August 2022
Peru – from 11 August 2022
Brazil - from 18 August 2022
Argentina – from 30 August 2022
Chile – from­­ 6 September 2022
Uruguay – from 13 September 2022
Malaysia – from 2023 (for a maximum stay of 6 months instead of 12)
Mexico, Philippines – from 2023

If your application does not make the cap, you can always apply the following year, as long as you are still within the age limit, have enough funds to cover your living costs while in NZ and have arranged medical insurance for your trip, among other requirements.

Getting Medical Insurance

Why get medical insurance for Working Holidays?

It is one of the requirements when applying for a Working Holiday visa. Nevertheless, it is a must-have when travelling, whether your visa requires it or not. Having travel insurance has never been more crucial than ever as countries gradually reopen their borders to travellers from around the world. It gives you and the country you are travelling to the assurance that any disruptions to your travel, such as contracting COVID, will be taken care of.

You will find that buying working holiday insurance is more worthwhile than wasting your hard-earned pocket money to pay for costly medical expenses. Did you know that hospital costs in NZ can range from NZ$500 (e.g. receiving treatment at the emergency department) to thousands of dollars (e.g. undergoing life-saving surgery)? An appendicectomy (operation to remove the appendix), for example, typically costs about NZ$14,000. On the other hand, ambulance costs range from as little as $90 to a whopping $800. You may be in perfect condition now, but we never know if something as bad as COVID hits you when you least expect it.

How to get Working Holiday insurance

Applying for working holiday insurance as a non-NZ resident traveller to New Zealand is simple. It can be done online(, just as you would for your WHS visa, but it's not as extensive or time-consuming (assuming you are in excellent health, i.e. you have no pre-existing medical condition/s). You will not be required to present any medical documents to be insured or undergo a medical examination. Moreover, you do not need to provide proof that you have an ongoing WHS visa application or approved WHS visa.

Which insurance provider suits me best?

OrbitProtect's Working Holiday Insurance can help you tick insurance off your list of visa requirements. You can rest assured knowing that OrbitProtect has been in the business of offering insurance exclusively to Working Holiday visa holders for the last 15 years (i.e. since 2007). You will also be relieved to know that OrbitProtect is New Zealand-owned and operated. Should the unexpected happen, we can confidently assist you with our expert local knowledge and resources.

How much does Working Holiday insurance cost in NZ?

The premium for one year is NZ$342 (as of April 2022). Premiums can be settled by making a one-off payment, depending on the duration of cover you require, which is usually a year, i.e. same as your WHS visa's validity period. You cannot opt to pay by instalment.

Not sure how long you're staying in New Zealand?

Not a problem! Get a no-obligation quote online by entering your approximate arrival and departure dates:

How soon can you use your Working Holiday insurance?

With OrbitProtect, you can use your working holiday insurance as soon as the policy starts, which is the day you depart from your home country. There is no standdown period. On the other hand, the end date in your policy application should be the day you are scheduled to arrive back in your home country or the day you leave New Zealand.

What to do if you get sick in NZ?

The starting point for any matter in New Zealand is a GP (General Practitioner). If and when you unexpectedly become unwell or injured, you can see a GP or doctor at any medical centre at your convenience. You do not need to obtain an authorisation from your insurance company. OrbitProtect does not have a list of accredited GPs. Simply Google medical centres in the area you're in. You must not go to the hospital (Emergency Department) unless you require urgent medical attention. If you require specialist input, such as a dermatologist or gynaecologist, your GP will refer you accordingly.

You will need to pay for your costs yourself, then make a claim online for us to assess your situation and the costs you have incurred. When making a claim, ensure that you upload to our online claims system all your related documents, such as your invoices, receipts, medical notes and proof of ownership (i.e. for property claims) by either scanning or taking a photograph of them. If we approve your claim, you will be reimbursed through your bank account, less the applicable excess.

What is an insurance excess?

It is the amount you must pay off a claim you make on your policy. If you make a claim and it's accepted, your insurer will pay for the costs you submitted over your excess amount. The rationale behind an insurance excess is to reduce the number of small insurance claims and encourage policyholders to take care, thereby reducing the number of claims. It helps to avoid many small claims and keeps insurance premiums low. Without excesses, there would be claims for tiny sums like $5 or $10, which would result in far higher costs to run insurance companies.

How long does it take to get reimbursed?

Processing of claims takes typically about a week or less, depending on the volume and complexity of the claims coming through. We cannot guarantee in advance if your costs are covered. We can only consider granting prior approvals for substantial costs like surgical procedures. It is also worth noting that dental and optical treatments are not covered under OrbitProtect’s Working Holiday Insurance.

Can you access private care with your working holiday insurance?

There are not that many private hospitals in New Zealand. They tend to be for non-urgent medical matters and matters that can wait. As your WHS visa does not entitle you to free government medical care, private care would likely be an option. We may be able to help (within policy limitations) if the medical matter is not urgent. It is very much a case-by-case situation in a non-urgent situation. If there is a significant situation requiring an ambulance, you would be taken to a government hospital for comprehensive care that is not available from private medical practices. Returning to the home country is the best option if you prefer to undergo treatment at home. We do not, however, cover treatment costs in the home country.

 What is not included in working holiday insurance?

Can you use your insurance to have your annual health check-up and routine cervical/pap smear? How about your usual maintenance medications? None of these is covered as OrbitProtect is not a health insurance provider. Keeping yourself in excellent health is your responsibility. Travel insurance plans, like the OrbitProtect Working Holiday Insurance, only provide compensation for costs related to a new and unexpected illness or accident that impacts your health. In saying this, we do not cover immigration medicals or preventative treatment (e.g. health supplements, vaccinations, boosters) either.

What happens if you get injured in an accident?

Believe it or not, the NZ government will shoulder your medical costs through ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) if you injure yourself while in New Zealand. You are eligible to receive free or subsidised treatment whether or not you’re a New Zealand resident/citizen, employed, or have insurance. More information can be found here on our blog:

Insurance for your possessions

Now that you have got your insurance sorted for medical emergencies, how about your luggage and personal belongings like your smartphone and laptop? How about the precious SLR camera and fancy lenses you will be bringing along for your trip? You can opt to insure these valuable items under your Working Holiday insurance with OrbitProtect. This will save you the trouble of arranging contents or property insurance with a different insurer. What’s more, any items you purchase while holidaying in New Zealand would automatically be covered, too, for up to NZ$1,000 per item and a maximum total of NZ$5,000. Got items worth more than NZ$1,000? We can look at insuring them too by paying a minimal add-on premium.

What if you want to travel elsewhere in between?

Your WHS visa allows you to travel back to NZ multiple times before your visa expires after your initial arrival in NZ. So, why not add Australia or Fiji to your itinerary? With the OrbitProtect Working Holiday Insurance, you will continue to be covered if you travel to Australia and/or any of the South Pacific nations like Samoa, Fiji and Cook Islands for up to 31 days. No need to pay an extra premium or arrange separate insurance for this.

What if your visa circumstances change?

You must change to a different insurance plan if you are no longer on a Working Holiday visa. If you change to a New Zealand Resident visa, none of our plans will apply to you. We will therefore need to cancel your policy.

What if your stay in New Zealand is cut short and you need to return to your home country?

You may be eligible to receive a cancellation refund if you have not made any claims or you have not been paid for any claims that you have made. The refund would be equivalent to the unused portion of the premium, less 20% of the total premium paid when the policy was purchased.

What if you have a change of mind or decide to travel on a different date?

You are welcome to cancel your policy within the cooling-off period, which is within seven calendar days of the date of purchase. Our money-back guarantee ensures a refund of the entire premium unless you have already received a claim payment from us or departed on your journey.

Does the insurance cover you for COVID?

Finally, the question in everybody’s minds is, would you be covered if you get COVID. The simple answer is yes. Treatment situations in New Zealand are covered. Travel issues, however, are not. Hence, if your flight is delayed or cancelled due to COVID travel restrictions, we cannot help. If you are required to have pre-departure swab tests, we cannot assist either.

If you wish to clarify anything that was discussed here, feel free to refer to the brochure and policy wording on our website:

Alternatively, you can email with your insurance queries.

If you’re all set and ready to make your purchase, fill out the online application form here:

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