Recent Posts
Featured Posts

Changes to Immigration Policies: Work Visas

Immigration NZ announced the long-awaited temporary work visa changes in September 2019. Most of the changes that INZ are planning will affect employers more than migrant workers and will not happen until 2021. These changes are not very impressive to migrant communities. The most effected people from these changes will be small to medium size business employers and their employees. Immigration NZ has planned to replace with a system based only on the pay rate of the job for the duration and skill level of a visa. INZ has not given indication yet what will be the pay rate for visa duration. Minimum pay rate will increase higher as per the government announcement every year till 2021 and will affect the small business owners. Employer need to be accredited and still requires labour market test and need to work with Work and income for Skill match report.

Low skill workers need to leave the country after 3 years of work in New Zealand. Relief to low skill workers that they can bring their family while they are in New Zealand.

Lets see, how these changes will affect/benefit the business community, future will tell however in current situation when small to medium size business are struggling with business sustainability and labour shortage how they will cope up with very strict and challenging policies and requirements from Immigration New Zealand.

INZ changes are as mentioned;

1. Effective from 07th October 2019

Silver Fern Job Search visa will be closed permanently

  • Cannot apply for visas under this Category.

  • If you already have a Silver Fern Job Search Visa, you can still apply for a Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

There are some changes happening very soon especially if you are planning to apply for:

• Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa, or

• Silver Fern Job Search Visa.

Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa

There are some immediate changes that affect new applicants for the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa. If you applied before 7 October 2019 the changes do not affect you.

2. Effective from mid of 2020(June)

(i) Changes to the Essential Skills Work visas

High-skilled and low-skilled jobs

The skill band of a job — that is, whether it is low- mid- or high-skilled — is determined through a combination of the pay and the ANZSCO classification. The skill band of a job determines:

- if a visa can be granted for longer than 12 months

- if the person holding a visa can stay in New Zealand for more than 3 years without having to leave

- whether the person holding the visa can support their partners and children to come to New Zealand.

The system based on the rate of pay and the classification of the job in the ANZSCO will be replaced with a system based only on the pay rate of the job.

The duration of your visa will be decided from the information in your application and information provided by your employer, including:

- how much you are paid, and

- where in New Zealand you will work

For low-paid work INZ will only grant a visa for 1 year, but if you are offered low-paid work in a rural area or small town that has proven difficulty finding workers INZ can grant you a for up to 3 years.

Visa holders of Essential Skills Work Visa based on a low-skilled job, partner and children will be able to apply to come to New Zealand on a visitor visa for the length of your visa, if the minimum income threshold is met.

If the partner wants to work in New Zealand. They must apply for a work visa on their own right.

Dependent children can apply for a Visitor Visa, if they are under school age, or a student visa. They can study at primary and secondary school as domestic students if the visa holder and their partner can support them while they are in New Zealand. If the children want to study at tertiary level, they will pay the same fees as other full fee-paying international students.

The new temporary work visa will specify your employer, your job and the location of work. You will still be able to vary the conditions of your visa.

If you work in New Zealand in a low-skilled job, after 3 years you must leave the country. Stand-down periods of 12 months will still apply to low-paid work if you get a new temporary work visa.

There will be a new residence visa for some people holding the new temporary work visa. To apply for residence based on the new Temporary work visa you will need to:

- be paid over 200% of the median wage, and

- have worked in New Zealand for 2 years.

As is the case for all work visa holders now, anyone on the new temporary work visa will be able to apply for other residence visas — for example, a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa — at any time while they hold their work visa.

(ii) Introducing sector agreements

Employers from some industries, such as residential care (including residential aged care) and meat workers, will negotiate agreements with INZ so they can more easily employ migrant workers- “sector agreements”. If a sector agreement applies to the job offered, employer must employ according to the terms of the agreement with that industry sector.

3. Effective from 2021

(i) Temporary work visas will be replaced with a new temporary work visa

The work visas that are being replaced:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa

  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle

  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa

  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa

  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa

The Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa will remain open for existing Silver Fern Job Search visa holders only.

  • If you already hold a work visa that INZ are replacing, it will remain valid until it expires.

  • If you want to continue working for your current employer after your visa expires, you will need to apply for the new temporary work visa or another visa you qualify for.

(ii) Two employer schemes will be removed

- Approval in principle (AIP) before an employer hires a worker on an Essential Skills Work Visa

- Accreditation as a Talent Accredited Employer

(iii) Visas and employer schemes that are not affected

- Other work visas and employer schemes such as the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme and working holiday visas are not impacted by these changes. INZ have provided a full list of visas that are not affected with our more detailed information for employers.

(iv) The process that employers use to recruit migrant workers for temporary work will be improved.

Employers wishing to employ migrant workers on the new temporary work visa will use a

3-step process.

1. An employer check — it will be mandatory for all employers, including those with an existing accreditation, to be accredited under the new application process before they can hire migrants on the new work visa.

2. A job check — this will include checking that the job is paid in line with the New Zealand market rate and, in some cases, will include a labour market test to ensure New Zealand workers are not available.

3. A worker check — when the worker applies for a visa, they must show they meet our standard character, identity and health requirements, as well showing they have the skills to do the job they have been offered.

As part of the labour market test, employers will have to:

• include the salary when advertising the job

• provide information about low-paid jobs to MSD WINZ, and

• accept potential workers referred by MSD WINZ for a low-paid job — although there are some exceptions.

Employers offering a high-paid job outside Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin will not have to do a labour market test. Employers in these cities will still need to undertake a labour market test for any job they offer, unless it is on a skills shortage list.


Legal Associates

31 East Tamaki Road, 

Level 1, Papatoetoe, Auckland 2025

Tel: 09 279 9439 | Fax: 09 279 9419

© 2016 Legal Associates. Proudly created by Media Solutions Kiwi Ltd.