Immigration NZ have around 3500 Essential Skills Work Visa (labour market tested) applications in the queue at the time of going to print. These applications just include people already in New Zealand (offshore applications are not being processed). If the application is well documented, it would get onto an Immigration Officers desk in about 8 days; if poorly presented, it will take at least 15 days. Of course getting to the desk does not mean an instant decision.
More and more we are see questions raised whether there are Kiwis available to fill the jobs. With a rapidly changing labour market we expect this to be a tougher line Immigration NZ will take in the future.
If you employ migrant workers the best support you can provide is encouragement for staff to apply early for the next work visa (at least 3 months before the visa expires) and to not take any shortcuts.
Employment agreements need to be up to date and anyone paid less than the median wage you will need to engage with WINZ. The job will have to be have been advertised widely before the visa application is lodged.
Keep up to date with work visa changes