The Minister of Immigration has increased the length of time visitors can study here without needing to apply for a ‘variation of conditions’ to their visa or a student visa.
People who held a valid visitor visa on Friday 11 September 2020, and are in New Zealand now, can now study for up to six months in a year. This gives them an extra three months on top of the usual three months they are allowed on a visitor visa.
This change also applies to school-age children attending school and people studying short courses with tertiary education providers.
People granted visitor visas after 11 September 2020 will have the standard visa condition allowing three months of study only.
With the horticulture and viticulture industry relying heavily on migrant workers to fill the labour demand during peak season the closure of New Zealand's borders has meant they are now facing severe labour shortages.
To help alleviate these challenges the government has just announced that Holiday Scheme visa holders who are in New Zealand with visas expiring between 1 October 2020 and March 2021, will be automatically granted Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visas.
This will allow them to work until 30 June 2021 in horticulture and viticulture seasonal roles where there are not enough New Zealanders available to do the work.
The Government is changing the visitor visa system to help temporary migrants and visitors to remain in New Zealand lawfully while they arrange to leave the country.
The Government is automatically extending current onshore visitor visas that are due to expire between 4 September and the end of October 2020 by five months.
Some visitor visa categories will not be extended. These include the critical purpose visa holders, guardians of students, and partners or dependants linked to a work visa holder whose visa was extended previously.
Those eligible for the extension will be contacted by mid-September.
In addition the government are also introducing a new two-month COVID-19 short-term visitor visa to allow temporary migrants stranded in New Zealand more time to arrange their travel home. Visitor visa rights will still apply so anyone wishing to take on employment must still apply for the relevant work visa to do so.
The COVID-19 short-term visitor visa is intended to help people reaching the end of their current visitor, work, student or partnership visa who may not meet the criteria for another visa, and need time to arrange travel home.
Individuals can apply for the COVID-19 short-term visitor visa from mid-September. They will need to pay a fee when applying.
More details on how to apply for the COVID-19 short-term visitor visa will be available on the Immigration New Zealand website by mid-September.
If you are wishing to stay in New Zealand beyond the end of your visitor visa and are wishing to explore the options available to you then Easy Visa can help. Book an eligibility consultation with our licensed immigration adviser today.
Further details have just been released by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) regarding the upcoming changes to how Essential Work Visas will be determined after the 27th July.
As previously announced, INZ are planning to move away from using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) to determine the skill level and subsequent visa duration and instead will base visa duration against an applicant’s remuneration rate.
Any application submitted from 27th July will either be assessed as high-pay or low-pay. Anyone earning at least the current median pay rate of $25.50 will be assessed as high-pay and if successful in their application will receive a 3 year visa. Anyone earning under this rate will be deemed low-pay and if successful will be issued a 6 month visa. The maximum combined duration of all work visas for jobs paying below the median wage is 3 years. After that time, you will be subject to a stand down period of 12 months.
Employers who are paying at least the minimum wage of $25.50/hour will also not need to engage with Work and Income when demonstrating that they have made genuine attempts through advertising to fill the role with a suitable New Zealander or Resident Visa holder.
In addition to these changes there are also new rules about how Essential Work Visa holders can support partners. Low skilled workers who have been granted 6 month visas will now be able to support their partners on this visa. Their partners will only be issued with visitor visa rights, however this gives them the opportunity to remain in New Zealand and acquire a work visa in their own right if they wish to. Dependent children may also be supported and granted either a student or visitor visas (subject to meeting minimum income requirements).
People who have been issued with 3-year visas can also support partners and partners will be given open work rights to work for any employer during the duration of their visa.
These changes have been introduced to help offset the increase in unemployment that is expected as the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt. As we start to see many changes to Immigration policy introduced it is important that if you are unsure of your situation that you seek professional advice tailored to your situation.
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The Government Has Just Announced Some Short Term Changes To Visa Settings For Temporary Work Visa Holders In New Zealand.
As the ongoing situation with COVID-19 continues to impact New Zealand and the rest of the world, Immigration New Zealand has just announced several changes to temporary work visas that aim to help businesses maintain their existing workforce for an extended period of time, while ensuring opportunities for New Zealanders are not negatively impacted in the short and longer-term.
There are three key changes.
The first change is to extend 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 by six months. That includes work visa holders whose visas are due to expire after 9 July, as well as those visas that were previously extended to 25 September under the Epidemic Management Notice.
To align with the six month extension for temporary work visa holders in New Zealand, the second change is to delay the introduction of the 12 month stand down period for lower-paid workers who have had their employer-assisted work visa extended.
The stand-down period means that people who have been in New Zealand on a lower-paid Essential Skills visa for three years are unable to be granted a new Essential Skills visas until they have spent 12 months outside New Zealand.
This time-limited change will enable 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, in line with their visa extension.
However, the stand down period will still apply if a migrants who is subject to the stand down moves to another lower-paid Essential skills work visa.
The third change is to reduce the duration of all new lower-paid Essential Skills work visas from 12 months to six months to mitigate future labour market risks.
This will apply 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 months visa if approved.
Together, these changes provide more certainty in the short-term while businesses look to recover from COVID-19 and enable employers to utilise the skills of work visa holders they already employ.
With New Zealand's Immigration policy regularly adapting to the current pandemic we highly recommend seeking professional advice if you are unsure of your situation or wish to seek further clarity in the options available to you moving forward. To book an appointment with our licensed immigration adviser please visit - https://www.easyvisa.co.nz/book-an-appointment.html
The Government has agreed to relax visa conditions for a short period to allow temporary migrant workers and international students to further assist with our essential services during the COVID-19 response. This decision will help essential businesses that are operating during Alert Level 4 to keep operating while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4.
Work visa holders with employer-specific work visas already employed in essential services will be able to vary their hours and be redeployed to do other roles within their current workplace. They can also perform their current role in a different workplace to help essential businesses keep operating while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4 and for six weeks after that.
International students who are already employed in an essential services role will be able to work longer hours for their current employer while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4 and for six weeks following. Students who are employed in an essential services role and wish to work more than 20 hours must still meet their study requirements and should discuss their plans with their education provider.
The short time-frame will enable employers in essential industries to maintain their labour pool as hiring would be very difficult while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4.
Any amendment to an employee’s conditions of work must be compliant with normal New Zealand employment law and the individual or collective employment agreement relevant to the employee.
People holding interim visas are not able to apply for a Variation of Conditions.
There are no fees or levies payable for a Variation of Conditions under this special category.
The changes come into effect on Thursday 16 April 2020 and the INZ website will be updated with further information, including the relevant form, as soon as possible.
A list of essential sectors during Alert Level 3 or 4 can be found on: MBIE | Essential sectors
The last month has been hectic to say the least. On the 28th February 2020, New Zealand registered its first confirmed case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). No one foresaw what was about to unfold, as only a month later our borders were closed to International visitors and the country found itself in a 4 week lock down in an unprecedented government response to the disease. The consequences of this have been felt widespread throughout the country. At this moment in time all Immigration resources are focused on controlling our borders. With the lock down in place many of Immigration's processing departments have closed. On the 25th March the New Zealand government issued an Epidemic management Notice which gives it special powers to handle and deal with such events. Part of this legislation in conjunction with the Immigration Act 2009, allows for special provisions for visa holders .
From Thursday 2 April 2020 The New Zealand Government’s Epidemic Management Notice relating to immigration matters comes into effect.
People with a work, student, or visitor visa with an expiry date of 1 April 2020 or earlier and who are unable to leave New Zealand must apply online for a new visa. An interim visa will be issued.
People with a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who are in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 will have their visas automatically extended to 25 September 2020. Confirmation of extensions will be emailed to all visa holders.
You can find your visa expiry date in your eVisa letter.
How Immigration calculate the timing of which visas will be extended
The Immigration Act 2009 governs the timing of which visas are extended and those that aren’t. Visas that will expire within 14 days of the expiry of the epidemic notice are extended. The epidemic notice will expire on 25 June 2020.
This means where the visa expiry date stated in the visa is between 2 April and 9 July (inclusive) that visa will be extended. Those visas will now expire on 25 September 2020.
Why all visas are not automatically renewed
The section in the Immigration Act 2009 (section 78) only applies to temporary entry class visa holders who are in New Zealand and whose visas will expire within 14 days of the expiry of the Epidemic Management Notice.
What happens if you are not in New Zealand
If you are eligible to receive the extension, you must be onshore at the time the Epidemic Management Notice is issued. If you are not onshore, your visa duration will not be extended.
What happens if you are on a limited visa?
Limited visas will have their visa expiry date extended as well. You do not need to do anything.
What happens if you are on an interim visa?
It will be extended, if the expiry date of your interim visa is 14 days before the date that the Epidemic Management Notice will expire (that is, between 2 April and 9 July (inclusive).
This extension does not apply to residence visas
The extension only applies to temporary class visas (which are work, student, visitor, limited or interim visas)
What happens if you leave the country?
If you leave New Zealand you are unlikely be able to return because travel to New Zealand is currently restricted.
A new visa will replace your extended visa
If you are granted a new visa this will replace the visa you have at the moment. The duration of your new visa will be set by immigration instructions.
What happens to the conditions on your visa?
You will continue to have exactly the same visa conditions.
How you can change your visa conditions if necessary (for example, if your employer cannot pay you)
It may be difficult for you to make an application to vary the conditions of your current visa; we will provide more information once it is available.
The extension can be renewed later
If the Epidemic Notice is renewed, and the Epidemic Management Notice will also be renewed and so your visa expiry will be extended again. More information will be given before this happens, so keep an eye on the Immigration New Zealand website.
The Immigration Minister Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway today announced the reopening of the Parent Visa Category which has been closed since 2016. Applications will open in February 2020 but visas are limited and there will only be 1000 spaces per year.
Whilst this has come as great news for many migrants wishing to bring parents over to join them in New Zealand, the new rules have been harder to swallow for some. The main change that has come about with the reopening of this category is surrounding the financial requirements, which will now be based on the income of the sponsor or combined income with their partner over two of the previous 3 years prior to submitting an application.
The changes will remove any financial requirements for the parents which had previously been required.
If you are interested in exploring this visa category and the other criteria to be eligible to bring your parent or parents to New Zealand please get in contact to arrange an eligibility consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has announced changes to the way in which employers support migrant workers for temporary work visas. These changes are the first wave of a set of changes that will be introduced by the government regarding temporary work visas and will be followed by more changes set to be completed by 2021.
These initial changes will be implemented on the 7th October 2019 and will apply to any relevant application submitted on or after this date.
Today's announcement details changes relating to the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa Category. The change to policy includes:
If you have any questions relating to these new announcements, or regarding any New Zealand Immigration issue please contact us to arrange an appointment with our licensed adviser at www.EasyVisa.co.nz
The beginning of April sees New Zealand's minimum wage rise to $17.70, up $1.20 from $16.50. This is the second scheduled minimum wage increase after the government announced in 2017 that it would be looking to increase the minimum wage to $20 by 2021. The next increase is scheduled for April 2020.