From 1 October 2019, all air travellers from 60 visa waiver countries, and all cruise travellers, will need to hold an ETA before travelling to New Zealand.
An ETA is an Electronic Travel Authority that will allow Immigration New Zealand to pre-screen travellers prior to arriving at the border. The purpose of the introduction of ETA’s is to speed up immigration clearance and reduce the number of passengers being refused entry at the border. Applying for an ETA is very simple and can be processed online or through a mobile phone app. Applications made through the mobile app will cost NZD$9, or NZD$12 if processed through a web browser. Once granted, an ETA will be valid for 2 years.
In addition to the new ETA, an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) will also be introduced, also valid for 2 years. The NZD$35 levy is intended to collect revenue to support tourism infrastructure and conservation activity.
For further information and details on exceptions to the above information please visit:
As part of Immigration New Zealand's annual review, changes have been announced to the Essential Skills work visa and Skilled Migrant Category resident visa remuneration thresholds. Reflecting the increase in median salaries, up 2.9% over the previous year, an increase in the pay thresholds for both the Skilled Migrant Category and the Essential Skills visa categories will be introduced effective from the 26th November as follows:
If you are unsure as to how these changes may impact your situation get in contact today with Easy Visa to arrange a consultation and plan for your future: www.easyvisa.co.nz
Quality of life, Healthcare, Work/life balance, Safety......
These are just some of the factors that expats rated highly whilst living in New Zealand according to the 2018 HSBC global expat explorer study.
For the second year running, New Zealand has placed 2nd overall as the country expats most enjoy living in. 22,000 expats took part in the survey, ranking a range of criteria based on experience, economics and family.
"With its breath-taking scenery and inviting outdoor lifestyle, welcoming atmosphere and personal benefits that can last a lifetime, the expats who have moved to New Zealand from every corner of the world are convinced they made a great choice."
Which factors are important to you when choosing where to live and raise your family?
View the complete report at www.expatexplorer.hsbc.com/global-report
Following a public consultation, Government has come up with changes to immigration settings that impact post-study work rights for international students.
The changes are -
These changes come into effect on 26 November 2018.
Immigration New Zealand are preparing plans to increase the application costs associated with select visas to cover a shortfall in operating costs.
Despite recent attempts to streamline the application process, the operating costs of Immigration New Zealand have still increased. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said an increase in migrant trafficking and exploitation was to blame for increasing visa processing costs. Checks were becoming more rigorous, therefore taking longer.
In order to make up the deficit, Immigration are looking to hike the cost of Work Visa applications by 54 percent.
Under the proposals which could be introduced as early as November 2018 :
Even with the price increase the cost of New Zealand Visas would be still be competitive in comparison to other countries such as Canada and lower than both the UK and Australia.
If you are looking for professional visa assistance be sure to contact us at www.easyvisa.co.nz to see how we can help.
Wow, what a year 2017 has been! This year we have seen big changes to immigration policy being introduced and with the change of government we are expecting further changes in 2018.
As always, to keep abreast of any changes as they happen make sure to like our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/easyvisawanaka/ or visit our news blog on our website - www.easyvisa.co.nz
Easy Visa would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of our clients and the businesses who have supported us over the last year.
With the holiday season approaching we will be taking a well deserved break, closing down from the 23rd December and then reopening on January 3rd 2018.
We wish you all an enjoyable holiday season and we will see you in the New Year!
Remuneration thresholds in Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills policies will be increasing on 15 January 2018.
In August 2017, changes to the Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills policies were implemented, aimed at:
The changes included introducing remuneration thresholds to both categories, with the aim of improving the assessment of skill and value to New Zealand.
From 15 January 2018, the following changes will occur in the Skilled Migrant Category:
Threshold for skilled employment in an occupation at ANZSCO 1-3
Threshold for skilled employment in an occupation at ANZSCO 4-5, or which is not included in AZNSCO
Threshold to earn bonus points
From 15 January 2018, the following changes will occur in Essential Skills work visa category:
Threshold for mid-skilled employment in an occupation at ANZSCO 1-3
Threshold for higher skilled employment in any occupation (including those at ANZSCO 4-5)
Why are these changes occurring now?
The thresholds are indexed against the New Zealand median income. As previously announced, remuneration requirements are to be updated at the end of each calendar year based on New Zealand income data (which is released in September). This year the changes have been delayed until January to give employers and migrants enough time to adjust to the new thresholds.
What if I am a current Essential Skills work visa holder and my job does not meet the new threshold? What if I’m an employer and one of my staff hold a current visa but their wage does not meet the new threshold?
Visas that people already hold will not be affected. Changes to the income thresholds will not affect the duration or conditions of visas that have already been granted.
A new application made on or after 15 January will be assessed against the new threshold. This may mean the conditions or visa duration of the next visa could be different. For example a chef paid $20 an hour would currently be considered mid-skilled, as the occupation is ANZSCO level 2 and the pay is above the existing threshold of $19.97. However if he applied for a further visa after 15 January he would be considered low skilled, unless his pay increased to above the new threshold of $20.65.
What if I apply or applied for a work visa under Essential Skills before 15 January 2018, but my application is not decided by then? Will Immigration New Zealand assess my skill level based on the old thresholds or the new ones?
If your application was received by INZ before 15 January 2018, the old thresholds will be used to assess your application and determine your visa application.
If I am an employer who has already advertised and prepared to support an Essential Skills work visa, but the person cannot get his application in before 15 January 2018, what happens then?
If an application is received and accepted after 15 January 2018, the new thresholds will apply, even if (for example) the employment agreement has been signed prior to 15 January 2018.
What happens if I was invited to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category under the old thresholds?
The remuneration thresholds against which you will be assessed are the thresholds in place on the date your expression of interest (EOI) was selected from the Pool, if that selection results in an invitation to apply. For example, if your EOI was selected on 10 January 2018 and you were invited to apply on 20 January 2018, the old remuneration thresholds will apply, even though you weren’t invited to apply until after the new thresholds were introduced.
If you are looking for professional immigration and visa advice please visit www.easyvisa.co.nz
Now that the dust has settled and the New Zealand coalition government made up from Labour, New Zealand First and the Green Party has been confirmed we can start looking ahead to see how government policies will shape our country over the next three years. In terms of immigration we were not sure how policy would be shaped with potential influence from New Zealand First and the Greens Party however Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister-elect, said: "You'll see Labour's policy remains absolutely unchanged as a result of these negotiations."
So what was Labour’s Immigration policy going into these elections? The three main areas that they are looking to shape policy through is to:
In total, these changes are estimated to reduce net migration by 20,000-30,000.
We are currently awaiting exact policy as to how these changes are to be implemented and once these are announced we will be updating our news blog. There is no time frame as to when this will happen however changes can come into effect quickly so if you are in a situation where you have the potential to apply for residency or work visas you may wish to get your application in sooner than later just in case you are affected by any future changes. People on valid visas when the changes come in will not be impacted however future visa applications will fall under the new policy once announced.
A detailed outline of the Labour Immigration Policy can be found here: http://www.labour.org.nz/immigration
If you need us to take the stress out of your visa application and ensure you get in before the changes be sure to visit us at www.easyvisa.co.nz
Immigration New Zealand will be sponsoring this year’s Best Plain English Turnaround Award as part of the WriteMark Plain English Awards.
The Awards celebrate New Zealand’s clearest communicators and encourage the use of plain English as a common practice in our country.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) facilitates the movement of the migrants New Zealand needs to prosper and provides these newcomers with information and services to help them settle successfully and contribute. INZ understands the importance of using plain English.
“With more than a quarter of New Zealand’s population born abroad, not everyone understands English well,” says Judi Altinkaya, National Manager, Migrant Settlement. “It’s important for people whose jobs involve communications to keep this in mind.
“For migrants new to New Zealand the quality of information they receive as they settle into their new lives here can make all the difference. The more New Zealand organisations - including ourselves - deliver that information effectively in plain English, the more we can create a smoother settlement process for newcomers,” says Ms Altinkaya.
The Best Plain English Turnaround Award recognises the best rewrite of a document or website that was originally difficult to understand but has been significantly improved by adopting a plain English approach, and using guidelines such as those outlined in INZ’s guide ’Keeping it Clear.’
In August 2016, INZ launched Keeping it Clear – an online resource designed to help organisations more clearly present their information so that it is easily understood by the growing proportion of new migrants in New Zealand. INZ recognises there is still more work to do in this space including improving how it communicates with all their customers.
The Best Plain English Turnaround Award is open to all forms of communication, whether online or in print.
To enter the 2017 Best Plain English Turnaround Award, visit the Plain English Awards website.
Entries close on 31 August. Winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on 23 November at the Royal Society of New Zealand’s premises in Wellington.
Keeping it Clear
Plain English Awards website
Detailed information about changes to the Essential Skills policy is now available. The amended policy applies to all Essential Skills applications made from 28 August 2017.
Changes to the Essential Skills work visa policy were announced on 27 July 2017, following an extensive round of consultation. These support changes already announced to the residence Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). Changes to SMC and Essential Skills policies will both be implemented on 28 August 2017.
The Essential Skills changes are designed to maintain employer access to temporary migrant workers when there are genuine shortages, while reinforcing the temporary nature of work visas and reducing expectations of settlement from temporary migrants with no pathway to residence.
The changes to the Essential Skills work visa category include:
Frequently asked questions:
What are the changes?
The changes apply to all applications made on and after 28 August 2017. There are 3 key changes from the existing Essential Skills policy:
When do the changes take effect?
The amended immigration instructions come into place on 28 August 2017. The changes do not affect existing Essential Skills visa holders until they apply for their next Essential Skills visa.
How many skill bands are there?
There are 3 skill bands: lower-skilled, mid-skilled, and higher-skilled.
The remuneration offered and ANZSCO level of an occupation is assessed to determine the applicable skill band.
Australian and new Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO)
What are the skill band thresholds?
The following table outlines the remuneration and ANZSCO levels associated with each skill band. The mid-skilled remuneration rate of $19.97 per hour equates to $41,538 per year, based on a 40 hour work week.
What visa conditions apply to each skill band level?
The skill band determines the maximum visa length and whether your partner or dependent child(ren) will be able to apply for visas on the basis of their relationship to you.
Note: If your employment contract is for a period of time less than the maximum visa duration, your visa will be valid for the length of your employment contract.
When will the remuneration thresholds be updated?
The remuneration thresholds will be updated in November each year, based on New Zealand income data.
My job is classified as ANZSCO skill level 4, can I still be classified as mid-skilled?
No. ANZSCO skill level 4 or 5 roles can only be higher or lower-skilled.
How are the remuneration rates calculated?
To ensure the skill bands are applied consistently, remuneration will be calculated on the basis of payment per hour.
A number of common payment scenarios are described below.
Do employers still need to pay the market rate?
Yes, the Essential Skills policy still requires remuneration to be at least the market rate.
My employment agreement includes deductions, how are these factored into the remuneration calculation?
Reasonable, agreed deductions (for example, for accommodation, goods and services) will be included when calculating whether a particular remuneration threshold has been met.
The calculation of remuneration will not include allowances, such as tool or uniform allowances, or bonuses which are dependent on performance.
Who is subject to the requirement to spend time out of New Zealand after 3 years (subject to a stand-down period)?
The 3 year maximum stay only applies to those granted an Essential Skills visa on the basis of lower-skilled employment.
After holding Essential Skills visas granted on the basis of lower-skilled employment for 3 years, you are subject to a stand down period. When you are subject to a stand-down period, you must spend 12 consecutive months outside of New Zealand before you can be granted a further Essential Skills visa that allows lower-skilled employment.
Spending 12 consecutive months outside of New Zealand is the only way to satisfy the stand-down requirement. Holding a different type of visa for 12 months or spending 12 non-consecutive months outside New Zealand does not reset the 3 year maximum.
Can I apply for a further visa if I am subject to a 12 month stand-down?
Yes. The 12 month stand-down only prevents you from being approved another Essential Skills work visas for lower-skilled work. If you are subject to a stand-down period you can still apply for another type of visa, or an Essential Skills work visa based on mid- or higher-skilled employment.
Does time spent in New Zealand on visas from before the policy changed count towards the maximum duration?
No. Only visas for lower-skilled employment applied for from 28 August 2017 count towards the 3 year maximum.
Do the changes impact the ability of visa holders undertaking mid- or higher-skilled work?
No. Family members of Essential Skills visa holders undertaking mid-or higher-skilled work are still eligible for visas based on their relationship to the Essential Skills visa holder.
Are there special arrangements in place for family members already in New Zealand?
Yes. Family members who already hold a visa on 28 August 2017 on the basis of their relationship to a lower-skilled Essential Skills work visa holder may continue to be eligible for a visa on the basis of their relationship, until the Essential Skills visa holder is subject to a stand-down period.
Can family members come and visit or apply for work visas in their own right?
Yes. Family members of Essential Skills visa holders engaged in lower-skilled work can apply for work, student or visitor visas in their own right. Applicants will need to meet the requirements for the visa, including the requirement that they demonstrate they are bona fide applicant.
Are there special arrangements for family members of students, or ex-students?
Essential Skills visa holders who are undertaking lower-skilled work and previously held a student visa can support visas for their partner or dependent child(ren) if they meet the following criteria:
Other frequently asked questions
Are any changes being made to the labour market test?
No. Employers must continue to make genuine attempts to attract and recruit New Zealand citizen or resident workers. For roles that are not on a skill shortage list, that includes advertising and other recruitment efforts.
Roles that are ANZSCO skill level 4-5 must continue to be listed with Work and Income.
Advertising with Work and Income
I submitted an Essential Skills visa application but it hasn’t been decided yet. What should I do?
All applications made before 28 August 2017 will be assessed against the immigration instructions that were in effect at that time. Any visa conditions imposed will also be in line with the immigration instruction in effect at the time of the visa application was made.
My employer has an approval in principle.
Does this affect my application?
If your employer’s approval in principle request was granted prior to 28 August, then the length of your visa will be granted in line with the conditions stated on the approval in principle.
If you are applying for a visa to undertake lower-skilled work, your partner and/or dependent children will be unable to apply for visas based on their relationship to you, regardless of when your employer’s approval in principle was granted.
Time spent working on a visa granted as a result of an approval in principle awarded prior to 28 August 2017 does not count towards the 3 year maximum stay for workers in lower-skilled roles.
How will employers be able to source the skills they need under the proposals?
Immigration policy is premised on a New Zealanders first approach and employers are required to ensure they are doing all they can to train and employ New Zealanders. Provided employers can demonstrate there are no New Zealanders available, they will still be able to recruit temporary migrant workers.
If the employment offered is lower-skilled, an individual visa holder will only be able to stay for a maximum of 3 years before having to upskill, apply for a different or higher skilled type of visa, or depart New Zealand. Employers are not prevented from supporting a new visa application to fill the vacancy.
If you wish to discuss any of these changes make sure to get in contact and arrange a consultation with our licensed adviser - www.easyvisa.co.nz