Nicola Tiffen


Top expertise

Nicola is a specialist immigration lawyer, with over 20 years of experience, and leads Duncan Cotterill’s national immigration team across our five offices.  She provides practical guidance to employers, business owners, and HR professionals to support their migrant employees, enable businesses to obtain immigration accreditation and to manage their migrant workforce.  She also assists high net worth individuals and those seeking to enter New Zealand under the Investor Active Plus, Entrepreneur, and Partnership categories.

See more

Prior to returning to New Zealand, Nicola worked for a leading law firm, in London, for over eight years, advising a range of international corporates, high net worth individuals, and leading sportspeople in respect of UK and EU immigration.

With strengths in all areas of immigration law, Nicola and her team are proud of providing an end-to-end service for their clients. From initial eligibility assessments and visa applications, right through to confirmed residency and citizenship, Nicola and her team give tailored advice at every step of the process.  Nicola and her team’s business clients also benefit from access to Duncan Cotterill’s commercial and employment law expertise, to guarantee successful establishment and operation of their New Zealand based entities.

Recent highlights

  • Successfully assisting a wide range of employers to obtain the new (compulsory) accreditation and Job Check approvals to recruit numbers of migrants from abroad, across a significant range of industries including construction, medicine, hair dressing, manufacturing and IT.
  • Acting for international sporting bodies and event promoters to ensure sportspeople and performers can enter and perform in New Zealand.
  • Successfully assisting employers in transferring employees’ visas to new legal entities.
  • Assisting a number of multinationals, to establish their first base in New Zealand, from the initial transfer of senior and junior employees to establish the operation, right through to obtaining accreditation and transfer of supporting staff on a long-term basis.
  • Successfully assisting a number of Investors to obtain residence under the Investor visa category, which has recently significantly altered.
  • Successfully assisting a number of individuals to navigate the partnership visa process, right through to residence.
  • Successfully seeking Ministerial “special directions” for exceptional cases, involving humanitarian circumstances.

Nicola's insights

Are you a small business and wonder what the process is for bringing staff in from overseas?

21 May 2024

Immigration Alert! Changes to Accredited Employer Work Visa Scheme

8 April 2024

New Zealand Immigration – What will the next 3 years look like?

2 February 2024

We're driven by our values

They drive our client relationships and connections with our community, and underpin our achievements.

He tāngata

  • Regularly provides training and seminars to business leaders and employees.
  • Regularly presents at the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association Global Migration Forum 2022.
  • Board member of the British New Zealand Business Association.
  • Chair of New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment (NZAMI), New Zealand’s largest industry body for immigration lawyers and advisers.
  • Convenor of the Canterbury Women’s Legal Association.


  • Recognised in The Best Lawyers of New Zealand 2024 & 2025 list for immigration.
  • Recognised as one of the world’s leading immigration practitioners in Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders Corporate Immigration 2024.
  • Recognised by NZ Lawyer in the ‘Most Influential Lawyer’ list for 2023. She achieved this recognition in the changemaker category.
  • Recommended lawyer in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022 legal directory.


Member of:

  • The American Immigration Lawyers’ Association.
  • NZAMI.
  • The Partners Immigration Network.


“I have worked with Nicola for several years and she has always provided an excellent level of service and she leads her team to provide the same level of support.” Josie MacKenzie, Southbase

How can we help?

Get in touch.

* indicates required fields

Your personal information will only be used to service your enquiry. We will only contact you with relevant information. For further information view our full Privacy Policy.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.