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Changes for temporary work visa holders- July 2020

These changes were implemented to recognise the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and temporary work visa holders in New Zealand.

The changes will allow employers to maintain their existing workforce for an extended period and at the same time ensured that opportunities for New Zealanders are not impacted.

There are 3 major changes.

1. All existing employer-assisted temporary work visas for people who are in New Zealand and

whose visas are due to expire before the end of 2020 will be extended by six months.

  • This change will include work visa holders whose visas are due to expire after 9 July and the visas that were previously extended to 25 September under the Epidemic Management Notice.

2. The introduction of the 12 months stand-down period for lower-paid workers who have had

their employer-assisted work visa extended, will be delayed.

  • This change will allow lower-paid migrants who are subject to the stand-down between August 2020 and the end of December 2020 to stay in New Zealand and work for the same employer in the same occupation and location for up to a further six months.

  • However, the stand down period will still apply if a migrant who is subject to the stand down moves to another lower-paid Essential skills work visa.

  • Any migrants who will be subjected to the stand-down period from February 2021 will still be required to leave New Zealand for 12 months before they can apply for another lower-paid work visa.

3. The duration of all new lower-paid Essential Skills work visas will be reduced from 12

months to six months to mitigate future labour market risks.

  • This change is applicable to all new lower-paid Essential Skills work visa applications lodged from 10 July.

  • Applications received prior to 10 July will still be granted a 12-month visa, if approved.

From 27th July 2020 ANZSCO will no longer be used to determine whether a job is considered higher- or lower-paid.

Instead, a simple remuneration threshold will be used which means that work visa applications for jobs that are paid below the median wage will need to include a Skills Match Report (SMR) from the Ministry of Social Development.

The duration of the visa will also be dependent on whether the individual will be paid above or below the national median wage.

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