December 7, 2023

Immigration in 2024 - what to expect

What can you expect in 2024: Increased government visa application fees, median wage changes, new Parent Visitor Visa, and increased work rights
Immigration in 2024 - what to expect

We have a new government and Minister of Immigration, Erica Stanford. Erica is held in high regard by the immigration industry as someone who understands the detail of this portfolio, is open to new ideas, consults widely and open to challenging the status quo.

With everyone vying to be heard, the wish list for policy change could be extensive. However, in our view, operational changes that are more easily implemented (than policy changes), are needed and can be implemented quicker and be impactful.

What can you expect in 2024:

• Increased government visa application fees. Immigration NZ is not fully self-funding and desperately needs more resource to complete the online visa application platform, so it is fit for purpose. Expect fee increases for some visa types to be significant.

• A review whether the median wage should continue as an assessment tool in work visa applications. Reminder the median wage is set to increase to $31.61 an hour ($65,748.80 annually) in February 2024 unless the government puts an end to this.

• A new Parent Visitor Visa to facilitate parents of migrants visiting for up to 5 years, renewable for another 5 years (5 + 5) subject to holding acceptable insurance to cover any medical treatment required while in New Zealand.

• Increased work rights for international students (currently 20 hours a week moving to 24 hours a week) and increased work rights for their partners.

• Increase work rights for some partners of migrant workers who hold accredited employer work visas.

There are employment changes in government’s 100-day plan that the Minister will need to consider how they will impact on immigration policy, these include:

• The reintroduction of 90-day trial periods across all businesses regardless of size. Accredited employers (that employ less than 20 employees) are currently banned from using trial periods in their employment agreements with migrant workers.

We may see adjustments to the Skilled Migrant category to attract younger migrants to New Zealand as current settings take no account of age, other than an age limit of 55.

A report is due out later this month on the accredited employer scheme which will no doubt recommend changes for the Minister to consider.

Changes to the current Investor and Entrepreneur visa settings to attract foreign investment and talent is most definitely needed. Hopefully the government will make this a priority to review as the benefits of foreign investment and smart talent to New Zealand’s economy are potentially huge.

Immigration policy is constantly evolving. We anticipate more change in 2024 and we will keep your business updated. Get in touch today.

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