Things to Consider when Applying for a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand (with a Disability)

A few days ago, my Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand got approved and I wanted to give a few tips for when applying for a Working Holiday visa. The application process itself is fairly easy, but there are a few things you might need to consider when you are applying with a disability, like me.

However, before I’ll write about that, a few notes on the application itfself that apply to able-bodied and disabled alike.

You don’t need an agency to organize your Working Holiday

There are several agencies out there offering you to organize your working holiday for you and I wouldn’t recommend you any of them for several reasons. The first reason is money, obviously. Sure, at first it sounds great to look at all the things they list (eg: flight, help you with the visa application, book first 2 nights in NZ in a hostel, YHA membership, etc), but if you organize these things yourself, you’ll save money. You can easily find a cheap flight to NZ with platforms such as momondo.com or skyscanner.com. Want a YHA membership? Go to yha.co.nz , there you’ll also be able to book an accommodation for yourself.

The second big reason why I wouldn’t recommend an agency is independence. You plan to travel to the other side of the globe with the plan to stay there for a year and be independent. How do you think you’ll be able to get by all by yourself if you can’t even get an YHA membership or book the flight yourself? Sure, having an agency gives the illusion of a ‘safety net’, but it really is just an illusion. They state that the will help you find a job, that does not mean they’ll guarantee you’ll get one. Also, they’ll actually just give you a list of places where you can apply, but again you can easily figure that one out yourself. These companies also state that another advantage is to be a part of a ‘community’ of fellow backpackers. Everyone staying at a hostel will tell you that the easiest way to meet you people is by simply staying at a hostel. You don’t need an expensive agency to introduce you to people.

One of my favourite travel vloggers Psychotraveller did two videos on Working Holiday in New Zealand a while ago, so check out her videos:
Planning A Working Holiday In NEW ZEALAND | Travel Guide
BACKPACKING NEW ZEALAND: BANK ACCOUNTS, TAX NUMBER AND SIM CARD

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View from my hostel in Queenstown back in 2009 when I visited NZ without the Working Holiday visa. 

How to apply for a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand

As for the application for a Working Holiday visa, there are only three things you need to do (unless you are disabled, but more on that down below):

1. Register on immigration.govt.nz
2. Fill in the online application
3. Pay the fee.

That’s it. There is nothing more to it. The application itself is fairly straight forward and will guide you through each step.

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Location: Picton, New Zealand

Things to Consider when Applying for a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand when you have a Disability

Since I’m one-handed, my application process was slightly different from most people applying for a Working Holiday in New Zealand. In short, I needed to give some detailed information on my disability and how it might affect my day-to-day life.

Now, when applying for a Working Holiday Visa, these are the requirements you’ll have to meet in order to be able to apply:

Applicants for visas for New Zealand must have an acceptable standard of health. We consider you to have an acceptable standard of health if you are:
• unlikely to be a danger to public health
• unlikely to impose significant costs or demands on New Zealand’s health services or special education services
• able to perform the functions for which you have been granted entry.

Source: immigration.govt.nz 

On the homepage, a great deal of emphasis is put on Tuberculosis, so will have to state whether you’ve been to a country in the last few years with a great risk of Tuberculosis. In the application itself, you will be also asked whether you require any medication, assistance or care.

However, nowhere on the homepage are any other specifications given apart from info on tuberculosis related issues. As you can see, the health requirements are very vague which can be a good and a bad thing. The good thing is that there is probably, I assume, no ‘blacklist’ of disabilities that will not get the visa approved. The bad thing is that since there is no such list, you might end up paying the application fee and still get your visa rejected (You won’t get a refund).

Either way, be prepared that you’ll have to provide further information about your condition AND that you’ll need to get a medical certificate from your GP or physician as I had to. You will be given enough time to get that medical certificate, so don’t worry. Still, it might be a good idea to talk to your GP about all this before you even begin to apply so for when you do have to get that certificate all you have to do is to call your GP.

I’ll be honest, when I first got the mail, asking for a medical certificate, I was heartbroken because I feared that I’d be considered to be ‘too disabled’ to get the visa because I’ve never met anyone (whether online or in real life) with a disability who travelled to New Zealand via the Working Holiday scheme. Thankfully, I’ve got the positive reply, stating that my application got approved, three days after my mail.

I’m very curious, are there any other people with a disability or chronic illness that applied for a Working Holiday visa in New Zealand? If so, how was your application experience and did yours get approved? Leave a comment down below!

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