The Government is implementing changes to the NZ immigration system as part of the rebalancing process of filling skill shortages and boosting the economy after the pandemic's travel restrictions and NZ's closed borders.
New Zealand's labour shortage has been around for some time. However, the problem has compounded for employers since Covid-19 hit. Worker shortages continue to impact all aspects, from the public sector shortage of teachers and healthcare workers to the private sector lacking employees skilled in engineering, construction and hospitality, to name but a few.
With record lows in NZ employment, overseas workers are in high demand by NZ employers. But to promote job vacancies overseas, employers need to be accredited within this new process.
Employer accreditation is a set of rules that require employers to take more responsibility when hiring migrant workers – they must provide support and training on living and working in New Zealand to their migrant employees and provide supporting evidence of this process to Immigration NZ.
The Government is rebalancing New Zealand's immigration system by implementing a shift in the future migrant workforce to increase New Zealand business productivity and rebalance the skills gap to support our economy's growth.
The rebalance is designed to make it easier to attract and employ skilled migrants. It also supports sectors in implementing sustainable employment processes.
The rebalance ensures New Zealand is an attractive destination for highly skilled workers in global shortage. It also fast-tracks pathways to residence for these migrants and simplifies the application process.
The immigration rebalance introduces three new residence categories that will make it easier for employers to hire migrants for specified high-skilled, hard-to-fill occupations.
As part of New Zealand's plan to rebalance the immigration system, the Government has introduced new pathways to residence and work visa options relevant to employers:
The "Work to residence" and "Highly paid" pathways require workers to be on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV NZ), which is a visa offering NZ working rights for some professions if migrants meet a certain threshold.
The Government's immigration rebalance aims to grow the New Zealand economy's productivity and improve business resilience by:
The Government's immigration rebalance strategy aims to increase New Zealand's productivity and value by:
The changes the Government has implemented will be a step forward to ensure New Zealand employers provide a better working environment for their workers. It aims to reduce exploitation and help to improve migrant workers working conditions and their integration into the New Zealand way of life.
The Green List makes it easier for employers to attract globally in-demand workers to New Zealand, but it is not the only pathway. Employers can still attract skilled migrants through a pathway to residence under the Skilled Migrant Category.
As part of the rebalance, the Government has introduced sector agreements to provide limited median wage exemptions for hiring migrant workers on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). This is based on certain occupations and sectors, exchanged for ongoing improvements.
The immigration rebalance may have different impacts depending on the skill of your workforce.
There are potential repercussions for employer workforces consisting mainly of lower-skilled migrants.
The sector agreements allow sectors that traditionally rely on lower-skilled and lower-paid migrant workers some time to make changes.
Lower-skilled sectors need to use the time to increase the attraction and retention of domestic workers, increase efforts to retain and upskill New Zealanders, and invest in technology and new business models where appropriate.
The rebalance aims to help distinguish higher-skilled occupations from lower-skilled occupations – the AEWV visa determines higher-skilled jobs, and the median wage determines lower-skilled and lower-paid jobs.
It may seem like there will be fewer employment opportunities for lower-skilled migrant workers in the future. However, employers can still hire migrants for some lower-skilled roles using more appropriate visa types like a working holiday visa, student visa, or post-study work visa.
The immigration rebalance will help reduce the pressure on social services and infrastructure by ensuring that only migrants who contribute positively to New Zealand society stay in the country. Part of the immigration rebalance changes is the list of skills and professions in demand in New Zealand.
The Green List has a limited number of highly-skilled roles in demand in New Zealand. It makes it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for specified high-skilled, hard-to-fill occupations. Highly-skilled professions on the Green List have more working and living rights opportunities in New Zealand.
The Green List is narrow and can be confusing for your migrant workforce. One thing to be aware of for migrants is that they will not be eligible if their qualifications don't exactly match the comparable New Zealand qualification standard for an occupation and/or the job description requirements.
As an employer, ensure your job description is closely aligned to meet the description of the role that INZ uses. If it doesn't, the applicant may not meet INZ's job description of your vacancy and can't be hired.
The jobs on the Green List are roles that attract migrants by guaranteeing residence pathways for eligible people. While some professions are a direct pathway to residence, others require two years or longer before applying.
The Green List occupations must meet Immigration NZ's registration, qualification and experience requirements. Eligible migrants have been able to come to New Zealand on a work visa since 4 July 2022. Those eligible can now also apply for residence from September 2022. More conditions about work visas for migrants can be found on our NZ work visa nz page here.
Employers must be accredited to employ migrant workers. Here's what the employer accreditation changes mean for hiring migrants under the immigration rebalance.
Employers still need to do a labour market test for most roles but not for every migrant. Under the new system, employers need to provide as much information as possible. Some employers can also use their existing recruitment processes to meet the job check criteria to prove that no New Zealanders are available to fill their vacancies.
Employers no longer need to provide proof of advertising for green list occupations when progressing an accredited employer work visa job check application.
The application process is entirely online. Immigration NZ uses public information that is readily available to save businesses time and speed up the process.
If you want to learn more about NZ's immigration rebalance and how it may impact you and your workforce, get in touch with Malcolm Pacific Immigration.
Our team of experienced licensed immigration advisers provide expert advice on all parts of the immigration process, including work visas and employer accreditation.
We help you navigate the rebalance changes and ensure you take full advantage of the opportunities it presents.
Get in touch with us today!
Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.
Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.
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Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.
The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.
The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.
From 19 July 2021
From 30 June 2021
Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.
From mid-2020 (delayed)
Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.
From 15 February 2021
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.
From 7 October 2020
The government added four new occupations that are now regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. These are:
Aged or disabled carer, Bicycle mechanic, Driller and Nursing Support worker.
From 27 July 2020
Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.
From 27 May 2020
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.
Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:
From 24 February 2020
From 7 October 2019
The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.
From 1 November 2021
From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.
Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.
Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.
The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.
The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa.
The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:
Is this the only requirement to qualify for residence? No. In addition to the eligible work visa criteria workers also need to be regarded as one of the following:
People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet the visa eligibility criteria:
The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022.
A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
The work visa categories set to close are:
From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.
There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.