Employers

Work Visas – busting the myths

There are multiple opinions, theories, bad experiences, and rumours swirling through various media platforms adding confusion for employers who employ or want to employ migrant workers. We bust through all the noise with factual advice for employers.

27/08/20212 min read
Work Visas – busting the myths


There are multiple opinions, theories, bad experiences, and rumours swirling through various media platforms adding confusion for employers who employ or want to employ migrant workers. We bust through all the noise with factual advice for employers.


  • Employers can still support work visa applications whether or not the business is accredited. Accreditation will not be mandatory for employers until mid-2022.
  • The government closed new applications for employer accreditation on 30/06/2021. Applications lodged before this cut-off date will still be processed.
  • Existing accredited employers have time to support work visas for staff wanting a Work to Residence Visa provided the application is lodged before 31/10/2021, the employee is paid at least $79,560 per annum and meets health and character requirements.
  • Employers can still get access to highly skilled offshore talent. While the border is closed there is a process to get critical workers onshore. We have managed many successful border exemptions. If you need offshore talent talk to us for a tailored solution.
  • Immigration NZ (INZ) may request financial, business and tax records from employers when assessing a visa application. It does not happen routinely. INZ would normally only ask if there were concerns around the profitability/viability of a business to pay migrant workers. If this is of concern take advice early before supporting a visa application.
  • A publicly available list of employers that have breached employment laws is online. These employers are banned from supporting work visa applications during the published stand-down period. There are currently 73 businesses on this list available here.
  • A migrant worker paid below the median wage of $27 per hour may qualify for a two-year work visa if they apply before mid-2022. Others paid above the median wage may qualify for a three work visa. Workers can apply now and do not need to wait until their current visa expires. It always pays to apply early.
  • Employees holding an employer-specific employer work visa can only work in the region of New Zealand specified on the visa. It is possible to secure work visas that will allow work in any region of New Zealand. Take advice.


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Latest Updates

Our team keep ahead of all the latest employment and immigration law developments and post updates regularly. Stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter and get these updates directly to your inbox.

Update

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
Update

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
Update

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