Median wage increase confirmed


The government has now confirmed the median wage will increase to $27 per hour from Monday, 19 July 2021. This impacts Work Visa (Essential Skills - labour market tested) and Skilled Migrant Residence applications.


How does this affect your business?

  1. Workers paid below the median wage may be granted a 12-month work visa if they apply on or before 30 June 2022. Note: the 6-month visa validity that normally applies to this cohort has been postponed until 1 July 2022. You still need to prove there are no kiwis available to fill the role.

  2. Employees wanting to apply for residence when the government reopens the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) will need to be paid at least $27 per hour. Certain lower-skilled occupations will now require an hourly pay rate of at least $40.50 per hour. Eligibility for bonus points based on a high remuneration moves up to a minimum of $54 per hour. SMC has been closed since March 2020 and there is no clear signal when the government will reopen the category. Thousands of workers and their families are affected. It is taking a toll on many migrant workers well being.

  3. We anticipate the remuneration threshold for priority processing of skilled residence applications and border exemptions (other critical workers) will increase to $54 per hour or $112,320 per annum. No announcement to date.

  4. Employees holding a Working Holiday Visa or Seasonal Employment work visa expiring between 21 June 2021 and 31 December 2021, are set to receive by email an automatic 6-month visa extension, which includes extended work rights to work in any industry and for any employer. Remember to update staff records with a copy of this email.


If you or your staff are concerned about these changes or want more information, please get in touch with Malcolm Pacific Immigration to speak with one of our Licensed Immigration Advisers.


Get in touch.



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