Median wage increase on hold

The median wage is a key tool used by Immigration NZ to assess essential skills work visa applications and the Skilled Migrant residence category (points system). Late last year the government froze a proposed increase to the median wage from $25.50 per hour to $27.00. The increase is frozen until around July 2021, but we expect the rise to kick in this year without little warning.

Any of your team holding an employer assisted work visa or who lodged an EOI in the Skilled Migrant pool and are paid less than $27 per hour will be affected once this increase takes effect. We recommend pay discussions start early to avoid any last minute impact on your business.

Anyone paid below the median wage ($25.50 per hour) wanting to extend an essential skills work visa can now stay longer than the maximum 3 years. A stand period usually requires a person to leave the country after working here for 3 years. The stand down rule has been deferred until 31/12/2021. Applications still need to meet all other criteria (such as the labour market test) and visas will only be valid for a maximum 6 months at a time.

For more information speak to our employer specialist and Licensed Immigration Adviser Lukas Sousa on 022 689 5500 or email

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