NZ's Work Visa Changes
"The government has made sweeping changes to work visa rules. These impact employers and migrant workers (those either holding a current work visa or applying for a new work visa)", shares Lukas Sousa from Malcolm Pacific Immigration*. A summary of the changes provided by Lukas include:
From 7 October 2019
- Base salary to qualify for a Work to Residence Visa (WTR) supported by an accredited employer increases from $55,000 per annum to $79,560 per annum (or $38.25 per hour).
- Pay rates for WTR visas now reviewed annually.
- Work visa applicants paid less than $79,560 per annum by accredited employers need to apply under other work visa categories.
- Employers can only be accredited for 24 months when applying for the first time or renewing.
- Silver Fern work visa category closed.
From mid – 2020
- Jobs classified into lower or higher-paid based on New Zealand median wage. Skills assessment removed.
- Lower paid jobs issued maximum 12-month work visa and allowed to bring family to New Zealand. Maximum time spent working in New Zealand restricted to 3 years (must depart for 12 months before applying to return to New Zealand).
- Higher paid jobs issued work visa valid for up to 3 years.
- Government to negotiate and introduce Industry Sector agreements setting minimum conditions for industries that rely heavily on overseas workers. Sectors include; residential care, meat processing, dairy, forestry, road freight transport, tourism and hospitality. Construction, horticulture and viticulture may also be included.
All Employers who wish to recruit workers from overseas or already employ migrant workers will need to become accredited if they are not already. There will be two types of employer accreditation; one for businesses that recruit a lot of staff from overseas and one for businesses that recruit 5 or less overseas workers.
Labour Hire companies will have a separate set of accreditation rules to meet. There will be a new set of regional labour market testing rules applying to jobs outside major centres. The detail of the 2021 rules is being developed. There will be an impact on all companies that employ migrant workers.
*Malcolm Pacific is NZ’s Largest and Most Respected Authority on Immigration Advice. Malcolm Pacific Immigration provides expert and professional immigration advocacy services for companies and individuals planning to relocate to New Zealand. Learn more about Malcolm Pacific and their services here.