The Government implemented a streamlined approach to immigration changes in 2022. Many changes were the byproduct of the Covid-19 strategy for regrowth and recovery. For example, our migrant visa schemes saw major overhauls as they focused on changing our future migrant workforce.
New Zealand citizens, residents, migrant workers, and their families will be watching closely to see what 2023 decisions are made and if the proposed changes are implemented.
2023 will be a year to focus on action while these schemes are matured, and labour shortages are addressed through immigration.
Our Government's plans to strengthen the New Zealand workforce encompass critical sectors. They are prioritising residency visas for key skilled workers and providing support for integrating these key-skill workers into the New Zealand way of life.
The Government's key focus for 2023 will continue from where the streamlined approach began in 2022. They are:
New Zealand citizens are enjoying a high rate of employment. However, this has not lessened our labour gaps in many sectors. For example, data from Statistics NZ state that job ads are 33% higher than before March 2020, when the borders closed.
2022 saw less than 50,000 new permanent and long-term arrivals, predicted to reach 100,000 by late 2023.
Strategies to retain highly-skilled New Zealanders are vital in maintaining our workforce, as many are moving overseas to earn higher wages. Kiwis are attracted to Australia and the UK to make more money compared to NZ employers. Kiwi employers in both the private and public sectors need to be able to raise their game to retain their staff. However, this is not easy, with inflation rising and the cost of living in New Zealand increasing.
The Government's move to increase the migration of highly skilled workers into New Zealand goes some way toward addressing this issue. Introduced a fast track to residency from the Green List immigration nz list to prioritise some specific skilled labour roles. However, this is not a quick road to recovery for our Kiwi companies.
The Government, in late 2022, introduced a new Active Investor Scheme that incentivised migrant investors to invest in New Zealand private companies. It is predicted that this model will provide more growth to New Zealand companies and help them generate global success.
The Minister of Immigration, Micheal Wood, states "The new visa category will help to attract investors that will remain in New Zealand for the long term, bringing their skills and experience to increase our productivity and competitiveness, supporting our transition to a high wage, productive economy".
By incentivising direct investment, it is envisaged that New Zealand businesses will benefit more from these migrant investors' global experience, connections, and monetary investment. The Investor Visa NZ is now a weighted structure that awards investments that will be doing good for Kiwi business and fine-tunes the passive investment structure.
By 2028, there will be over a million New Zealanders over 65. With New Zealand's ageing population, we are heading for a high retirement rate within the next decade. This will also impact the availability of skilled workers. Highly skilled degrees take time to nurture. Therefore the Government's focus in 2023 will need to be on longer-term strategies.
Funding for training and increasing pay rates for key skills, like studying General Medicine in particular, has been implemented to increase the amount of Kiwis wanting to study these skills. At the same time, the Government is increasing immigration to counteract this decrease in the workforce to meet demand.
A key strategy the Government implemented in May 2022 was rebalancing New Zealand's immigration system to grow NZs labour market into a more productive, higher-wage environment. The Government has created this scheme to ensure the future migrant workforce is highly skilled and supports the skills gaps within our economy.
The rebalance is designed to make it easier to attract and employ skilled migrants. It also supports sectors in implementing sustainable employment processes. This will be a year of action as migrants applying for the 85 key Green List roles will join our workforce to start their new working lives in New Zealand.
The Government's immigration rebalance strategy aims to increase New Zealand's productivity and value by:
LIST DATES HERE AS THEY ARE ANNOUNCED BY INZ.
Questions remain for many visa and residence opportunities. We will keep you posted as we receive more communication from the Government and learn about proposed changes over the next year.
Before the borders closed, INZ noticed various issues within the Skilled Migrant Category, which has been compounded by Covid-19. The world continues to recover from the pandemic, with labour shortages still a global symptom.
Last year, NZ Immigration's minister, Michael Woods, announced the reopening of the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) visa under current settings while consultation was underway regarding the proposed changes, like introducing the new 6-point system.
EOI selection for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa resumed on 9 November 2022, and INZ selected all EOIs with at least 160 points.
However, after 9 November, the points threshold for selection increased to 180 points, which is in place from 18 January 2023, when EOIs are selected again.
INZ announced that the new median wage of NZ$29.66 an hour will be adopted into the immigration system on 27 February 2023.
The NZ Government has made an exception for some sectors. For example, tourism and hospitality have a median wage threshold exemption of NZ$25 per hour until April 2023, with the median wage exception increasing to NZ$28.18 in April 2023.
The Government announced changes to increase access to working holiday makers already in New Zealand and those looking to travel to NZ.
From 31 January 2023, people who held a working holiday visa but didn't travel due to Covid-19 can enter the country again, as they would have received an email notification from INZ from October 2022 onwards about their eligibility and ability to get a new visa.
The Parent Resident Visa restarted on 12 October 2022 and resumed selecting existing expressions of interest (EOIs) on 14 November 2022.
From May 2023, EOIs can be submitted online on the Immigration New Zealand website.
Any EOIs INZ received from 12 October 2022 went into a ballot, with the first random selection from the ballot in August 2023, then every three months after that.
INZ regularly releases updates about New Zealand visa applications and changes to the immigration system. You can also keep yourself informed about work visas, employer accreditation and immigration NZ news by subscribing to our newsletter or contacting our experienced immigration advisers.
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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:
In order to address labour shortages in New Zealand's crucial industries the NZ government has implemented a "Green List" of sought-after high-skill occupations. This list offers a prioritised pathway to residency.
There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Occupations are broken down into two tiers:
The recent additions in May 2023 across many sectors on the Green List NZ can be found here