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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