March 20, 2023

Changes to Working Migrant Visa News

From 1 July the NZ/UK Working Holiday Visa (WHV) is extended to three years (up from twenty-three months but had only allowed twelve months working in NZ).
Changes to Working Migrant Visa News

From 1 July the NZ/UK Working Holiday Visa (WHV) is extended to three years (up from twenty-three months but had only allowed twelve months of actual working time in NZ).

This change will facilitate young Brits spending a full three years working in NZ with open work rights (not tied to any employer or job). The age limit increases from 30 to 35, so the pool of people who can qualify grows substantially. Anyone already in NZ (estimated at over 4,000) holding a WHV will be able to extend their visa for another twelve months once the changes roll out.

NZ has an annual cap of 15,000 visas under this scheme. This is higher than the number of visas issued in any one year under this scheme.

The UK also opens their WHV scheme on 29 June. The deal is just the same for young kiwis wanting to work in the UK. An open work visa with three-year work rights and no cap on the number of visas issued. This may lead to more local talent moving offshore as recent graduates with a few years of work experience under their belt are showing strong interest in this visa.

A Recovery Visa was introduced to facilitate the quick entry of specialist migrant workers to help with the recovery and response to major weather events. This visa will allow employers to fast-track the entry of engineers, technicians, insurance assessors etc needed on the ground right now. Applications should be processed within seven days, and the $700 government application fee is refundable if the visa is approved.

The Recovery Visa is restricted to just six months. Anyone required for longer will need to convert the Recovery Visa into an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) unless the government rolls out an extension as they did from time to time when the border was closed. Officials are looking at alternatives to fast-track these essential workers through the AEWV online application process, but it may take some time to organise.  

There are calls for more visas to attract talent to NZ. There are 52 countries with a digital nomad visa, others have rolled out a two-year open work visa for graduates from top universities and other new talent visas pop up on a regular basis. We have a broken Entrepreneur visa in desperate need of an overall. This visa could be attracting talent and capital right now to help grow kiwi businesses and save jobs. A conversation left for another day might just be too late to win the battle for global talent!

Reminder to employers to keep close tabs on the expiry date of job checks. The job check is when Immigration NZ have been satisfied there are no New Zealanders available to fill a role(s) and grants permission to the employer to fill the role with a migrant worker. The job check is valid for six months from date of approval. It must still be valid when the migrant worker applies for their work visa. If the job check expires then a new job check needs to be lodged and approved if there are still roles to fill with migrant workers. An Accredited Employer Work Visa application can't be lodged without a valid job check.

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