Work visa changes coming

In December last year the Government signalled it was making changes to the immigration system. It said there were “too few checks and balances on employers hiring migrants, resulting in some employers with poor track records still being able to access migrant labour”.

The changes to work visa policy are expected to be announced mid-year, but one has already got the green light: a Regional Skills Shortage List (RSSL) has replaced the Immediate Skills Shortage List while opening the doors wide to teachers across all age groups and for all regions.

Employers who have found good workers in migrants in recent years need to be up to speed on what they need to do now to ensure a continuity of talent is available for their business.

An attractive avenue is to become an accredited employer. Malcolm Pacific Immigration can advise you on that. The government has made it quite clear in future all employers will have to be accredited to access migrant workers. There are real benefits getting ahead of the changes not least of all we expect the queues for employers to be very long.

If your business is already accredited it is time to check you are compliant on all fronts with accreditation requirements for human resources, health and safety and remuneration of employees. These will be subject to audit by Immigration NZ. If your existing accreditation is up for a renewal get in early to prevent being held up in a queue as more employers seek accreditation.

Another change the Government has signalled is to reduce the number of pathways for employer-assisted temporary work visas and introduce employer, job and migrant checks. The major driver of these changes is the government wants to provide incentives and support for businesses to employ more New Zealanders. Expect a focus on pay rates and training programmes. We haven’t seen the final policy detail yet but it is expected to roll out in June or July with implementation either late 2019 or early 2020. Watch this space.

While the changes work through, and you still need talent, Malcolm Pacific Immigration has a team of experts available to you to not only help with visas, but with getting your business compliant to employ migrant workers.

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