Immigration New Zealand have announced some significant changes to Essential Skills Work Visas that will be introduced on 27th July 2020.

Remuneration and median wage

Up until 27th July 2020, INZ have used a combination of ANZSCO (the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) and salary to assess an applicant’s skill level (as either low, mid or high).

This will now be based purely on remuneration, aligned to the national median wage.

Applicants will be assessed as either:

The applicant’s renumeration will be used to determine the maximum duration of their visa, whether they can support a partnership-based work visa and whether their employer needs to engage with The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in order to meet the labour market test.

The current median wage in New Zealand is NZD$25.50 per hour and is revised every year in November.

What does this mean for families?

If you earn at or above the median wage, you can support a work or visitor visa for your partner, and visitor or student visas for your dependent children.

If you earn less than the NZ median wage, you will be able now be able to support visitor or student visas for your dependent children, as long as you meet the minimum income threshold, which is currently NZD $43,322.76 or more a year. You will also be able to support your partner for a visitor visa (they will have to apply for a work visa in their own right once they are in New Zealand).

What duration of visa could I be granted?

If you earn at or above the median wage, you can be granted a visa for 3 years.

If you earn below the median wage, you can be granted a visa for 6 months, which can be renewed up to a period of 3 years. After that time, you will be subject to a stand down period of 12 months.

Summary of the changes

 

  Below median wage (currently $25.50 per hour) At or above the median wage (currently $25.50 per hour)
Labour market test Employer needs to engage with MSD and provide a Skills Match Report Employer does not need to engage with MSD to provide a Skills Match Report, however the employer will continue to need to make genuine attempts to hire New Zealanders, including advertising for the role and considering New Zealanders
Visa duration Maximum duration of each visa is 6 months for the next 18 months (i.e. from 10 July 2020 – 10 January 2022).

Maximum combined duration of all work visas in jobs paying below the median wage is 3 years at which time holders of this visa will be subject to a stand down period of 12 months.

 

Maximum duration of each visa is 3 years

 

No maximum combined duration – not subject to stand down.

Bringing family who ordinarily reside in New Zealand. Note that anyone currently offshore will be subject to the border restrictions currently in place. Support visitor visas for partners (partners can apply for a work visa in their own right)

 

Support visitor or student visas for dependent children (subject to meeting the minimum income threshold)

Support visitor or work visas for partners

 

Support visitor or student visas for dependent children (subject to meeting minimum income threshold)

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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