The median wage is a key tool used by Immigration NZ to assess job offers submitted in Essential Skills work visa applications and the Skilled Migrant 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 with little warning.
If you hold an employer assisted work visa or have lodged an EOI in the Skilled Migrant pool and are paid less than $27 per hour we recommend you start a discussion with your employer as soon as possible. Conversations around pay can be uncomfortable. Being upfront with your employer about how a change to the median wage will impact your immigration status will avoid any last minute dramas. Most employers will appreciate the “heads up”.
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. The stand down period usually requires a person to leave New Zealand after they have worked 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.