Principal Policy Advisor (Immigration Skills and Residence Policy)

Date:  17-Jan-2023

Wellington, NZ, 6011

Discover a career with purpose at MBIE


  • Lead advice on the immigration settings that will help shape New Zealand’s economy and society now and in the future 
  • Work constructively with passionate people, sector representatives, and communities
  • Apply expertise and judgement to complex policy issues, while mentoring and coaching team members 
  • Permanent full-time role
  • Salary range: $132,417 - $160,472 + kiwisaver and wellness benefit


Tēnei tūranga - About the role:


We are seeking two Principal Policy Advisors to join the Immigration Policy (Skills and Residence) team. 

You will play a leading role advising how immigration settings can support New Zealand’s economic, labour market and societal goals. This includes supporting attraction of the skills New Zealand wants and enabling families to settle in New Zealand.  

These roles involve leading advice, shaping the work programme, developing team members, and working constructively with community, industry and government stakeholders.

You will be joining a high performing team in a busy and high-profile policy area. Value is placed on an enabling and collaborative team culture and teaching policy craft.  


About the team

The Immigration Policy Skills and Residence team provides advice on the immigration rules about who can live in New Zealand temporarily or permanently. This includes the settings for work, partnership and student visas. 

We are currently working on projects such as: 


  • Implementation and monitoring of the Immigration Rebalance changes and new temporary work visa 
  • Changes to the Skilled Residence pathways that allow migrants to stay permanently in New Zealand
  • Developing a framework for understanding and responding to the impacts of skilled immigration policies in changing economic, labour market and policy contexts 
  • Reviewing family and partnership settings including family violence situations, disability settings, and assessing genuine relationships
  • Supporting Immigration New Zealand in refining its regulatory and processing processes
  • Contributing to strategic and regulatory stewardship work to provide a cohesive view of the immigration system.


The Skills and Residence teams works alongside two other Immigration Policy teams (Border and Funding, International and Humanitarian) and the three teams regularly come together to share ideas and discuss key topics. All team members have opportunities to engage with Ministers, industry, and communities.

The team sits within the Labour, Science and Enterprise Group at MBIE where connections are made to how immigration settings can align with and support labour market, skill development, economic and industry transformation policy and goals.

The team also works closely with Immigration New Zealand so that operational and user experience considerations are part of policy analysis, and there is policy oversight of how settings are being implemented and the results of changes. 


Why work for us?


Developing our policy staff is a key focus for MBIE.  We have a culture where policy staff are empowered to bring fresh perspectives to issues and to think ‘outside the box’.  Being the largest ‘policy shop’ in NZ, MBIE offers significant opportunity for developing experience across a broad variety of areas. We encourage excellence and proactively support development through on-the-job learning, training courses, conferences and seminars, development programmes, secondments, rotations to other branches and study opportunities.


Ngā pukenga me ngā wheako e hiahiatia ana - Skills and experience required:


The Principal Policy Advisor is a leadership position in MBIE. We are looking for motivated people with experience leading high-profile policy projects and a track record of problem solving and providing quality advice in complex situations.  

You will be working in partnership with the Policy Manager and other Principal Policy Advisors to lead and develop an already capable policy team. In this context, importance is placed on supporting team members to lead advice themselves while refining their policy skills and judgement.  


Experience in labour market and economic policy and working with regulatory systems would be valuable, but most important is the ability to think analytically and strategically through issues and balance principled and pragmatic considerations. 


We are keen to hear from you if you have:

  • Experience leading complex policy projects within central government
  • A good understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and application of these in public policy and in partnership with Māori
  • Wide ranging knowledge of policy development disciplines and processes including regulatory systems
  • Strong stakeholder relationship building, influencing and engagement skills to gain the cooperation and commitment of others
  • Demonstrated capability in working with Ministers, senior public service officials, internal and external stakeholders
  • Passion for leading and coaching others to develop their policy craft and take their careers to the next level
  • The ability to work through ambiguity and deliver results 
  • The legal right to live and work in New Zealand

Ētahi kōrero mō MBIE - About MBIE:


MBIE's goal is to create a resilient and high-performing economy that delivers real and ongoing quality of life for all New Zealanders.


We do this by working with others to create an environment that supports businesses to be more productive and internationally competitive, enables all New Zealanders to participate in the economy through improved job opportunities and by working to ensure quality housing is more affordable.


People are at the heart of our mahi, our way of working is guided by our values which shape our behaviours.


  • Mahi Tahi – Better Together
  • Māia – Bold and brave
  • Pae Kahurangi – Build our Future
  • Pono Me Te Tika – Own It


Our aspirations are echoed in our Māori identity – Hīkina Whakatutuki – which broadly means ‘lifting to make successful'.

MBIE recognises the partnership founded under Te Tiriti o Waitangi between Māori and the Crown and is committed to giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We will do this through enduring, meaningful and effective partnerships with iwi, Māori, other Māori groups/organisations and the Crown, as this is critical to enable economic and social development, both for Māori and for wider Aotearoa New Zealand. We are committed to continuing to partner with iwi in order to find new sustainable solutions to address long standing systemic and cross-cutting issues facing Māori and wider Aotearoa New Zealand and we are also committed to identifying opportunities for iwi to lead and creating an enabling environment for iwi to leverage these opportunities.


E mōhio ana a Hīkina Whakatutuki i puea ake te kōtuinga I waenganui i a ngāi Māori me te Karauna i Te Tiriti o Waitangi, ā, kei te whai ia ki te whakaū ake i Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Mā te whai kiko o ngā kōtuinga ahungaroa o ngāi wi, o ngāi Māori, me ētahi atu rōpū Māori ki te Karauna, katutuki tēnei. He āhuatanga nui tēnei e āhei ai ngā mahi whanaketanga ā-ohanga, ā-pāpori hoki ki a ngāi Māori me Aotearoa whānui. E whai tonu ana mātou ki te kōtui atu ki ngā iwi mō te rapu huarahi hou ki te whakaara i ngā kaupapakua roa nei e tāmi ana i a ngāi Māori me Aotearoa whānui, ā, e whai ana hoki ki te tautohu i ngā āheinga kōkiritanga mā ngā iwi, me te tautoko i ngā iwi kia whai mana ake ai ēnei āheinga.

Me pēhea te tono - How to apply:

Click here to view a position description. All applications must be submitted via our online process.  Email Roxana Anderson at quoting ref MBIE/9878 if you have any further questions.


Applications close on Monday, 6th February 2023