Visa News

Will the Immigration rebalance affect you?

The government’s recent “Immigration rebalance” announcement set out future changes to work and residence visa pathways. Notably absence was any word on the Skilled Migrant Category (points system) or the Investor Categories.

17/05/20223 min read
Will the Immigration rebalance affect you?

The government’s recent “Immigration rebalance” announcement set out future changes to work and residence visa pathways. Notably, absent was any word on the Skilled Migrant Category (points system) or the Investor Categories. We were told an announcement on these categories will be made “in coming months”. Read this as a clear signal for change. The Partnership category is heading for review. The Parent category reopening looks to be on the agenda in 2023.

Work visas

Applications open for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) on Monday, 4 July 2022. Anyone applying for an AEWV will need to hold a job offer from an employer that has been “accredited” by Immigration NZ and the job has been cleared through a “job check” (which means there are no kiwis available to fill the role and the job is compliant with employment law).

Applicants must be paid at or above the median wage of $27.76 per hour (before tax and any lawful wage deductions), hold qualifications and experience to carry out the job and pass character and health checks.

In December 2022 partners of migrant workers will no longer automatically receive work rights. Instead, most partners will be issued a visitor visa. If a partner wants to work in the future they will need to qualify for their own AEWV but will be allowed to work less than the normal minimum of 30 hours a week if they need to care for children.

Chefs wanting to work in New Zealand will soon need formal qualifications to secure a work visa. Any overseas chef/cooking qualifications will need to be assessed to establish if they are at Level 4 or above on the NZ Qualification framework (including at the level of the NZ Certificate in Cookery, Level 4). It just got much tougher for restaurants and hotels to recruit overseas chefs!

There will be a transition to the median wage requirement for certain occupations in a limited number of sectors. For a period of time jobs paying $25 per hour will qualify for two-year work visas. After two years if the worker is not being paid at the median wage or above they will have to leave NZ. The sectors included in this transition are Tourism, Hospitality (but not chefs), Construction and Infrastructure. Not every job in these sectors will qualify so take advice before applying.

Residence pathways

A limited number of opportunities to apply for residence are scheduled to open in September 2022.

People with highly skilled job offers can apply if their occupation is on the “Green Listor they are paid double the median wage ($55.52 per hour or a salary of $115,482 per annum).

What is the Green List ? This list replaces the three skill shortage lists (Long Term, Regional Skill and Construction/Infrastructure) that have been in existence for many years. Occupations on the Green List do not have to be advertised by employers to satisfy the labour market test and may open an immediate pathway to apply for residence or after working in New Zealand for two years. Occupations on the Green List are available to review now. This list will be reviewed in 12 months then every 3 years.

Warning: All occupations on the Green List have a requirement that overseas qualifications are equivalent to NZ qualifications and/or require NZ occupational registration. In some cases, a minimum income requirement applies. Character and health checks will apply to everyone included in the residence application.

The median wage and occupations on the Green List will change from time to time.

Applying for work visas or residence is never straightforward. We recommend you speak with a licensed immigration adviser to assess your eligibility to apply.

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The Green List

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.

Read more here.

16 May 22

Work Visa Categories Closing

The work visa categories set to close are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
10 Feb 22

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
  • April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
  • April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
  • May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

16 Dec 21