Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand.
At long last, your migrant workforce gets some certainty about a long term future in New Zealand. This is good for your business. It will be a relief to many but uncertainty still lies with employers looking to grow their workforce with talent from overseas. More on that later.
If you have employees holding work visas you will want to share this around the business and with your HR team.
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.
The government estimates this pathway is open to about 110,000 people already in New Zealand holding certain categories of eligble work visas. Close family can be included in the application so the final number to be granted residence maybe around 165,000.
Who can apply?
1. Workers who were in NZ on 29/09/2021 who hold an eligible work visa;
2. Applied for an eligible work visa before 29/9/2021 that the application is finally approved.
Is that the only requirement to qualify?
No. Workers must also:
Have lived in NZ for 3 years or more (that is arrived in NZ on or before 29/9/2018 and spent a minimum of 821 days in NZ between 29/9/2018 & 29/9/2021); or
Have been earning the median wage ($27 per hour) or above on 29/9/2021; or
Have been working in a job on one of the approved shortage lists.
Will everyone with a work visa qualify?
Only certain types of work visas will qualify. Your team can contact our team to check if they are holding one of the eligible work visas.
Health and character requirements will still apply to everyone who applies.
Anyone with a conviction or under investigation by police or who have had a previous visa application declined (whether in NZ or overseas) or with health issues (including members of their family) should take professional advice.
Like most things, the devil is in the detail. Getting the application right first time will result in approval. Get it wrong and a once in a lifetime opportunity is lost.
If you are planning to recruit from overseas you will need to move quickly. Only critical workers (highly skilled) can secure border exemptions right now. If part of your talent attraction plan is selling a new life in New Zealand then these workers need to arrive in New Zealand and apply for this visa before 31 July 2022. Not that simple given the constraints at MIQ. We can help with border exemptions.
With the looming closure of the Work to Residence visa on 31 October 2021 and the Skilled Migrant category (points system) still on hold until at least July 2022 other pathways to residence are severely limited.
More information around these new rules will roll out next month. We will keep you posted.
The team at Malcolm Pacific Immigration is on standby and ready to help your team.