September 22, 2023

Increase to median wage set to land in 2024

In February 2024, the median wage used to assess work visa applications will rise to $31.61 an hour.
Increase to median wage set to land in 2024

The government recently announced in February 2024 the median wage used to assess work visa applications will rise to $31.61 an hour ($65,748.80 annually based on a 40-hour week). The current median wage is $29.66 an hour ($61,682.80 based on a 40-hour week). This increase of 6.6% rolling out in 2024 is a significant bottom-line cost about to be hit employers.

In November 2023 the validity of Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWV) increases from three years up to a maximum of five years. Workers already holding an AEWV will be able to apply for a work visa extension from November to secure the balance of five years. The good news for these workers is that the labour market test does not apply but if a worker’s pay rate is below $31.61 an hour the next work visa application must be lodged ahead of the 2024 median wage rise. If not, the only solution is to increase a worker’s pay to match or exceed the higher pay rate, otherwise a work application will fail.

A worker who is now in New Zealand will face challenges with their next work visa application if there have been changes to health, character, or employment that Immigration NZ is unaware of. The same concern applies to any member of their immediate family holding a temporary visa. Sometimes due the sensitive nature of these issues an employee may be reluctant to share information with their employer. This is when it pays to take confidential advice from a licensed immigration professional who is across these changes and experienced in solving difficult problems.

With close to 80,000 AEWVs already issued there is a large group of people that will want to extend their work visas to safeguard their position in New Zealand. No doubt employers can expect to be asked to support these applications. With limited pathways to residence currently available, workers will be keen to remain longer in the hope the next government rolls out new residence policies.

Malcolm Pacific Immigration offers a free consultation to establish eligibility for work visa extensions and more. Get in touch with our team to learn how we can help your business avoid a wage blowout.

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